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Zimbabwe's Food Crisis Deepens As Bakeries Close For Lack of Flour

The food crisis in Zimbabwe deepened this week as numerous bakeries closed due to a lack of flour, leaving much of the country without bread among other staples.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare said in a statement issued on Wednesday that the country had come to "the edge of a precipice."

Zimbabwe's Catholic Aid Agency announced it will launch a 4 million pound appeal on Friday. The monies raised will fund an emergency response program assisting more than 120,000 people in areas most deeply affected by the humanitarian crisis.

The organization will distribute seed and farming tools as well as food, it said.

Despite widespread distress, President Robert Mugabe told United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week that there is no humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, and therefore rejected Ban's offer of widened U.N. assistance to the country.

World Food Program Regional Information Officer Richard Lee said last week that the agency seeks another US$97 million to feed 3 million people through early 2008.

Bulawayo-based economist and business owner Eddie cross, a policy coordinator for the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that that he has closed his bakeries in Bulawayo for lack of flour with wheat barely trickling into the country.

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