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Eighty Hospitalized as Cholera Resurfaces in Zimbabwe's Marange Diamond Area

Many of the new cholera cases have occurred in and around the Marange alluvial diamond field and independent health care organizations have found it difficult to access the zone which is tightly controlled by the military

A cholera outbreak in Marange district of Zimbabwe's eastern Manicaland province has left 80 people hospitalized and led authorities to set up emergency treatment centers aiming to keep a tight lid on the disease which claimed more than 4,000 lives in late 2008 and early 2009 as the country's health care system collapsed.

Sources said many of the cases have occurred in villages in and around the Marange alluvial diamond field, and that health care organizations have found it difficult to enter military controlled zone to provide emergency assistance.

Sources said the outbreak is so serious that the Ministry of Health and its partners are going all out to stop it.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in recent report that experts fear another cholera outbreak as the rainy season approaches, as the causes of the last epidemic have not been fully addressed - in particular deteriorating water and sanitation systems which allow cross-contamination of water supplies.

Water system breakdowns also lead households to resort to unsafe water sources like shallow wells.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera confirmed the outbreak, saying every effort is being made to control it. The United Nations Development Program has estimated that 6 million Zimbabweans lack access to safe water.