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Half of Zimbabwe’s population needs food aid: UN


New York : Half of Zimbabwe’s 12 million people would require food assistance and some households have already cut back on the number of meals a day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday.

Ban said in a statement that the news from Zimbabwe was “distressing” because of the collapse of health, sanitation and education services in addition to an escalating outbreak of cholera.

Ban supports humanitarian initiatives of the group of Elders, and expressed regrets that the government in Harare had barred a three- member Elders delegation headed by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan from visiting the country last weekend. The Elders group was founded by former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Ban called for a rapid agreement in talks being held in South Africa to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.

“The people of Zimbabwe cannot afford another failure by their political leadership to reach a fair and workable agreement that would allow Zimbabwe to tackle the formidable challenges ahead,” Ban said.