Zimbabwe

UN will launch humanitarian appeal for Zimbabwe next week

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A humanitarian appeal to provide shelter for the 300,000 people worst affected by Government evictions in Zimbabwe will be launched next week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.
Its main priority is providing shelter, then food and sanitation, it said.

A report released last month by Anna Tibaijuka, the UN Special Envoy on the evictions who is also the UN Human Settlements Programme's (UN-HABITAT) Executive Director, said some 700,000 people had lost homes or businesses in the Government of Zimbabwe's Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order) demolitions.

The operation "breached both national and international human rights law provisions guiding evictions, thereby precipitating a humanitarian crisis," she said.

In a statement issued after the release of Ms. Tibaijuka's report, Secretary-General Kofi Annan pledged urgent UN action to mobilize immediate international humanitarian assistance to prevent further suffering. Criticism, while fully justified, was not enough, he said.

Mr. Annan added that once the most acute human needs had been addressed, the UN would give whatever help it could with implementing the report's other recommendations, such as establishing a dialogue between the Government, the domestic constituencies and the international community to address Zimbabwe's serious social, economic and political problems.