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Zimbabwe cholera crisis blamed on government

Switzerland has stepped up its aid to Zimbabwe while placing the blame for the country's worsening humanitarian crisis on its government.

Switzerland will send an additional SFr1 million ($820,000) to an international cholera emergency aid programme for Zimbabwe and is considering sending several experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit to provide logistical support to United Nations agencies.

"This disastrous situation has been caused by the policy failures of the government of President Mugabe, its mismanagement, arbitrariness and corruption," the Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said the cholera epidemic had dealt a "further serious blow" to a country that had been rocked by a number of crises. It called it a direct result of the collapse of the country's fragile public infrastructure.

The epidemic has claimed the lives of 600 people and affected more than 13,000. The government has declared a national state of emergency and the UN is warning of a dramatic spread of the disease.

The Swiss government says it "firmly rejects" claims by the Zimbabwean government that international sanctions caused the humanitarian and economic situation.

The sanctions were targeted at individual members of the Mugabe regime, the ministry added.


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