Cholera is a vicious disease. It can take a healthy person and kill him or her in a day by rapidly dehydrating them from a massive, watery diarrhea. The resulting electrolyte imbalance can lead to vascular collapse or cardiac arrest. Cholera is usually spread by fecally contaminated drinking water, and hence is completely preventable. It is also easily treatable by keeping the patient hydrated with the oral rehydration therapy, basically minimally fortified water. Yet this preventable and treatable disease is now epidemic in the country of Zimbabwe. Government sources admit to over 400 deaths but the true number is probably nearer 1000, while the number of cases is already likely around 10,000 and climbing. In Zimbabwe cholera is also caused by dictator Robert Mugabe's vicious misrule, incompetence and corruption. He has killed these cholera victims by his lust for power just as surely as he if he had his Army and police shoot them down. Now the rainy season is upon Zimbabwe and things will likely get even worse:
"What I am afraid of is that now that the rain season has come, all faeces lying in the bushes will be washed into shallow wells and contaminate the water," [Health] Minister Parirenyatwa said, adding that the management of water and sanitation was primary to the cholera problem.
Zimbabwe has been battling a cholera outbreak over the past month, which has now spread to nine of the country's 10 provinces and spilt into neighbours South Africa and Botswana, highlighting the effects of a worsening humanitarian and economic crisis in the country.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the epidemic sweeping the southern African country is "the tip of the iceberg" of a major breakdown in health infrastructure, adding that there were very few places in Zimbabwe where people infected with cholera could seek medical attention, and the clinics that are open have far too few health workers to contain the outbreak.
Crisis-torn Zimbabwe is reeling under the effects of a 10-year economic meltdown that has left the country's once admired health system totally collapsed while doctors and nurses are grossly underpaid because the government does not have money.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has begun delivering food for Zimbabwean doctors, nurses and other health workers who have not been paid because of their country's economic collapse. (BUA News)
Zimbabwe shouldn't have cholera any more than Bagdad. Both cases are criminal failures of the civil authorities. This is not a technical problem. It is easily solved with latrines, intact water and sewer pipes, disinfected drinking water. The Harare City Council's response is to offer free graves for cholera victims, since otherwise no one could afford to be buried. Inflation is running 231 million percent. Yes, that's right. 231 million percent.
Zimbabwe is a killing field, perpetrated by the Mugabwe regime. If sick Zimbabwans are lucky enough to struggle to the Beit Bridge border with neighboring South Africa they might make it to one of that country's three dehydration centers. Most aren't that lucky. We don't hear much about this story in the US. But it is a horror show. And Robert Mugabe is the horror who runs the show.
Its frightening how quickly all this happened. 20 years ago Zimbabwe was almost the crown jewel of Africa. In the blink of an eye, a country can turn to ashes.
Then there is the food and supplies that the IRC wants to get in there Revere. They want to impose "importation fees". I loaded and sent a full AN-124 (350,000 lbs) of supplies and food into S. Africa because they couldnt get landing rights. When our agent trucked it up to the border the Zims wanted those fees which were approximately 25,000 Rand (cash) to bring it in. A S. African of Zim descent paid the bribe.
Mugabe has to go. He can leave under his own power or feet first. It makes no difference to me. AIDS/HIV is rampant in the country too so getting cholera with that is likely an early death sentence with the execution coming quickly. An estimated 200 a day die of full blown AIDS. Nothing can come of this. Even a measure to pass out condoms to the locals by S. African AIDS groups came under fire there. The government collected them and then...Forced them to buy them from the government.
S. Africa for the better part is keeping up with their end of the end of white rule (note I say rule), in lieu of democratic change. There have been some bumps along the way of course but they really have gotten their economic act together as of the last three years. Zimbabwe could too but there has been no democracy there in the last 20 years and the only way that this will be fixed likely is at the end of a gun.
Unfortunately if you contribute aid money it never makes it to the people. Mugabe and his friends take it and put it into the Caymans and Switzerland bank accounts. So its worthless to bother. Its one of those look the other way things because it is indeed an internal problem by UN definition. With the powers that be in charge, and as long as it doesnt cross the borders there simply isnt much that can be done.
When Mugabe came to power Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa. Zimbabwe was the crown jewel of Africa. Zimbabwe had thriving light and heavy industries; a thriving rural sector; universal health and education for all; excellent water and sanitation; she exported food, she had a vibrant economy and well fed, housed, working population.
There is now nothing left. Mugabe and his cronies are now so rich, that I doubt that they would be able to spend all the money that they have in one life time. They have stripped Zimbabwe to the bone. It took generations to make Rhodesia/Zimbabwe into the bread basket of Africa, it will take generations to turn her back into the Jewel that she was.
Mugabe has taken Zimbabwe from the bread basket of Africa and turned it into a crumb.
I hope Mugabe feels proud of his accomplishments!
Victoria would know more than anyone here as her husband is from Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.
Hope that was o.k. to share Victoria.