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Death Toll From Cholera Outbreaks In Zimbabwe Exceeds 100

Cholera is spreading in Harare and outlying areas, independent health sources said on Wednesday, with the death toll from the epidemic rising to at least 100 with the country's virtually collapsed health care system hard put to cope with the outbreaks.

Experts warned that until the causes of the cholera outbreak are addressed, in particular the lack of safe drinking water and deterioration of sanitation systems, the epidemic will continue, claiming more lives.

A nurse at a Harare hospital speaking on condition of anonymity said her institution was without rehydration fluids for two days until a consignment of about 100 drips from the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, arrived on Wednesday.

Correspondent Sylvia Manika reported from Harare.

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that with the disease on the rise the Harare region and drugs in short supply, the death toll could mount.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's justice system has become the latest victim of the water shortages that have beset the capital for months: the Harare High Court suspended sittings due to a lack of water at its offices in Samora Machel Avenue, a main thoroughfare.

Members of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights were turned away as they tried to file an urgent chamber application for the release of opposition activists.

Communications Officer Kumbirai Mafunda of the legal defense group expressed the concern that the closure was tantamount to denying justice

Correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

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