Zimbabwe’s downward spiral continues. The United Nations estimated on Friday that the death toll from the cholera epidemic has reached 1,123, with suspected cases now at 20,896. The New York Times reported today on a recent U.N. survey reported that “7 in 10 people had eaten either nothing or only a single meal the day before.”
In November, the U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) was forced to cut rations to more than four million people in Zimbabwe after receiving “no response” from the international community to aid in feeding the suffering Zimbabwean population (in part because of President Mugabe’s long history of denying food aid to political opponents.) Last week, WFP revised their estimate of the number of Zimbabweans requiring food assistance in the first quarter of 2009, increasing it to 5.5 million people.
Meanwhile, last Friday, President Robert Mugabe declared that “Zimbabwe is mine” and he would “never surrender.”
Thankfully, the U.S. announced yesterday that it can no longer support a proposed Zimbabwean power-sharing arrangement that would allow Robert Mugabe to remain president. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer called Mugabe “a man who’s lost it.” This is a positive shift in U.S. policy, but as Enough’s John Norris recently remarked, absent serious pressure from South Africa—who continues to support the current power-sharing agreement—Mugabe will remain empowered to continue his reign of terror.