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UN Delegation in Zimbabwe To Assess Crisis Meets With Mugabe, Tsvangirai

Members of a high-level United Nations delegation in Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian crisis there met on Monday with President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, respectively head of state and head of the new unity government.

Agence France Presse quoted a government official as saying the U.N. team met with Mr. Tsvangirai in the morning and with Mr. Mugabe in the afternoon. He told AFP that, "The U.N. wants a collaborative effort with the government" on addressing humanitarian issues.

The five-member U.N. team is headed by U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Bragg.

Meanwhile the World Health Organization, represented in the delegation, issued an update on the cholera epidemic which took hold in the country seven months ago, saying the death toll had risen to 3,817 through Sunday from a cumulative total of 82,130 cases.

Communications Officer Tsitsi Singizi of the U.N. Children's Fund or UNICEF told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the epidemic has not been brought under control and has had the greatest impact on the country's children.

Correspondent Taurai Shava reported from Gweru, Midlands province, that some desperately ill Zimbabweans are resorting to medical treatment without the involvement of a doctor due to the general collapse of the country's national health system.

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