June 2, 2009
The UN on Monday launched a renewed appeal for funds to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. Six million Zimbabweans, or more than half the population, lack clean water; 1.3 million, including 133,000 children, are living with HIV; and 1.5 million children are orphans, according to the UN. In November, the UN said $550 million was needed to address the problems; through May 26, however, just $246 million had been raised. In its latest statement, the UN said $718 million is needed to provide food, water and AIDS medications in 2009. The nation's calamities have been multiplied by a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 4,200 people since August. Though the February creation of a unity government generated some optimism, that government has been plagued by battles over power sharing. The new government's appeal for $8 billion in economic assistance, separate from humanitarian aid, has generated just $400 million in credit line pledges since April, said the UN, which called Zimbabwe's humanitarian needs "staggering." "The magnitude of the economic decline and erosion of sources of livelihood is such that it is unlikely the humanitarian needs will lessen in the short term," the UN said.