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Foreign Aid Organizations In Zimbabwe Warned Of Impending Collapse

Accelerating hyperinflation is causing increased concern among international aid organizations in Zimbabwe about the potential for serious instability.

A memorandum drafted by the so-called Heads of Agencies Contact Group, which represents some 30 organizations, is said to have warned members of the risk of an economic collapse within six months. The memo is said to have warned the collapse would be followed by a declaration of a state of emergency by the government.

According to the memorandum, which a source familiar with the document said had never been intended to be made public, retail stores could close and critical services could fail amid rising crime and and civil disturbances.

VOA was unable to reach the authors of the report for comment or clarification.

Economist Eric Bloch told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although he agreed the economy was in extremely bad shape, he did not believe that a total economic collapse could occur in the country.

Recent days have seen a worsening of the electrical power shortages which been a feature of daily life for months, and fuel prices have risen sharply - according to one reliable source to as much as Z$100,000 a liter, double the price a month ago. The national health care system is a shambles, many schools are barely functioning, and United Nations food agencies have warned of widespread shortages ahead.

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