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Zimbabwe's Severe Fuel Shortages Complicate Travel, Devastate Forests

Amid ongoing fuel shortages and fare hikes in Zimbabwe, some commuters complain train travel has become an increasingly trying and unpleasant experience.

Several say the experience is characterized by exceptionally lengthy queues and overcrowded, dirty platforms.

But, as correspondent Fazila Mohamed of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported, many say this is unavoidable as travel by train is one of the only affordable means of transport to many destinations.

Meanwhile, the increased power cuts and fuel shortages have disrupted the functions of many Zimbabwean households.

As a result, many have resorted to finding other sources of energy to cook, and in cold weather, to heat up homes.

One practice of particular concern to conservationists is the cutting of trees for firewood, which conservationist say has reached alarming levels.

As a result, Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper reported recently that the Forestry Commission has made plans to meet with stakeholders, to find a way around the power cuts, while saving the trees.

Regional Director James Murombedzi of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources – the world conservation union, said deforestion has negative consequences that will impact not only Zimbabwe, but the region and the global community, as a whole.

Murombedzi told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye that based on a recent report by the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe, an immediate solution is needed to stop deforestation.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...