Zimbabwean President Mugabe meets visiting UN team
www.chinaview.cn 2009-02-24 07:02:50   Print

    HARARE, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday met Catherine Bragg, UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, at the State House in Harare.

    Bragg, who headed a UN team which also includes representativesfrom the World Health Organization, World Food Program and the United Nations Children's Fund, was on a five-day trip in Zimbabwe to understand the situation of this southern African country.

    Senior United Nations officials arrived in Harare on Saturday. They were preparing for a series of meetings with Zimbabwe's political leaders and UN colleagues dealing with the cholera epidemic and food shortages.

    The five-strong delegation will also meet Prime Minister MorganTsvangirai during their five-day visit, delegation spokesman John Nyaga said. "The aim of the mission is to understand the reality of the situation in Zimbabwe," he added.

    The high-level UN team will find ways of dealing with the country's growing health and food crisis.

    This followed a meeting between President Mugabe and UN chief Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the African Union summit held recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The UN delegation flew in late on Saturday.

    According to figures released on Saturday by the WHO and Zimbabwe's health ministry, the latest death toll from the cholera epidemic was 3,806, with more than 81,000 cases reported.

    At the same time, more than half the country's 12 million population need emergency food aid, according to UN figures.

    Zimbabwe is also battling the effects of an economic crunch stemming from illegal economic sanctions imposed by the West.

    South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, chairman of the Southern African Development Community, has convened the bloc's finance ministers conference this week to devise a plan to help Zimbabwe out of the crisis.

    Last Friday, Tsvangirai said during a visit to South Africa that reconstructing Zimbabwe could cost as much as 5 billion U.S. dollars.

Editor: Du Guodong
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