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While Cholera Rages, Zimbabwe State Television Calls US Doctors Spies

With the death toll in the cholera epidemic sweeping Zimbabwe now over 1,200 and the total number of cases nearing 24,000, the United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF said mothers and children are dying because basic social and health services are no longer functioning.

Lisa Schlein reported for VOA from Geneva.

Elsewhere, the U.S.-based group Physicians for Human Rights denied Zimbabwe state media reports that a delegation that dispatched to Zimbabwe to help in the ongoing cholera crisis was detained on allegations of espionage.

State television reported Tuesday that four “bogus” members of the Physicians for Human Rights met with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and civic activists on a spying mission for the United States and Britain, and had been arrested.

Physicians for Human Rights Chief Executive Frank Donaghue told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his members were in Zimbabwe “strictly” to assess the crisis, and his group does not act on behalf of or support any political organization.

Donaghue said the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's reports alleging espionage reflect Harare’s desire to conceal what is happening in the country.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...