Saturday, June 25, 2005

Thousands of homes demolished in Zimbabwe

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are homeless due to President Mugabe's new "Operation Sweep Out the Trash."

photos from Institute for War and Peace Reporting

left: a family sits outside their
demolished home in Mbare, one of the poorest, most densely populated neighborhoods in Harare.

below: a woman sits by the ruins of her home in Mbare.

Many are saying that Mugabe's “Operation Muram-batsvina” is 'cleaning up' opposition strongholds in the cities, which have voted overwhelmingly for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

It is winter in Zimbabwe right now, and young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and the sick are being forced to sleep outside without shelter.

Mugabe's actions are affecting the poorest of the poor, people already struggling with starvation, unemployment, high inflation (hit 600% last year) and the AIDS epidemic.

Many of these homeless families are being relocated to rural camps, where all people have to check in with local ZANU-PF committee members (Mugabe's political party) in order to get food aid and assistance.

In the Mupedzanhamo market in Mbare, world-reknowned as an extensive trading and selling ground of everything from fresh foods and tourist items to cookware, books, cheap music and second-hand clothes, government bulldozers have razed trading stalls, evacuating sellers with tear gas.

4 million people are said to have fled the country over the past few years, and are refugees around the world. 2 million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa.

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