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Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles
ZIMBABWE: MSF gets go-ahead to help victims of urban cleanup
October 03, 2005
- The government of Zimbabwe and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)
Holland have signed an agreement allowing the international NGO
to provide medical assistance to people displaced two months ago
during Operation Murambatsvina ('Drive out Filth'), the government's
controversial clean-up campaign.
Health minister David Parirenyatwa told IRIN that the agreement
would allow MSF medical and relief teams to begin operations in
the Whitecliffe, Hopely and Hatcliffe areas around the capital,
Harare. He said the government was aware that many displaced families
were facing problems and lacked access to food, water and sanitation
"The agreement allows MSF to work in conjunction with the Harare
city council's health department. Staff from the department will
be attached to MSF health teams in the affected areas," Parirenyatwa
Steve Hide, the MSF head of mission in Zimbabwe, said he expected
conditions similar to those in camps around Epworth and Chitungwiza,
also near Harare, where MSF had ongoing programmes.
"We have not been allowed into the new areas as yet, but we expect
the situation to be equally bad: poor sanitation, the lack of ablution
facilities and the absence of basic healthcare services are still
the major challenges in any displaced people's camp," Hide commented.
"We will be providing clean water, ablution facilities and mobile
clinic services for five days every week."
MSF already had two mobile clinics offering basic medical care to
an estimated 200 people a day in the Chitungwiza and Epworth areas.
Hide said MSF was expecting to find between 700 and 1,000 families
in each of the displaced camps. The offer of assistance came in
the wake of reports that homeless families were returning to the
high-density surbubs from where they had been evicted.
In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, over 200 displaced
people had reportedly returned to informal settlements in the Richmond
and Cowdray Park areas. The government-run housing programme to
accommodate victims of Operation Murambatsvina was lagging far behind
its stated targets because of serious cash flow and material constraints.
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