Times Online's Christina Lamb paints a depressing picture on the worsening situation in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile the blame game continues. The international community blames Mugabe for creating the 'food shortage' problem, he blames them back for creating the 'land problem' and imposing further sanctions. In the middle is the dying population. A short extract from the article below:
In 15 years, life expectancy has fallen to 34 years for women and 37 for men, by far the lowest in the world. What some call a silent genocide has left Zimbabwe with more orphans than anywhere else in the world — 1.4m according to Unicef.
At Bulawayo’s vast West Park cemetery, it is easy to spot the recent arrivals — a large plot freshly dug, with row after row of graves, barely a plank’s width between them. The gravestones tell their own story. All were born in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Over on the other side in the children’s section is a line of tiny earth mounds, the graves of babies who have died in the past week.
At the edges of the graveyard are odd areas of tossed earth. “People come in at night and bury their relatives secretly at the margins because they cannot afford proper burials,” explains Pastor Useni Sibanda, who leads a church in Bulawayo and speaks for the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, an umbrella grouping of church groups and other civic organisations.
Those who can join burial clubs — macabre savings groups where people in a street or a workplace join together to pay for each other’s dead. Others register sick relatives under false names at hospitals, knowing they cannot afford a funeral. Nobody knows how many have died of hunger. But doctors in Zimbabwe say the population’s chronic malnutrition, combined with HIV, leads to the onset of full blown Aids far faster than anywhere else in Africa.