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UNICEF Rents Housing For Evicted Zimbabweans

UNICEF Rents Housing For Evicted Zimbabweans With Disabilities

In the wake of the housing and business evictions that have displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Zimbabwe, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says it will rent housing for more than 100 evicted families with disabled children and provide them with transportation and business investment.

Updating its report on its work since Anna Tibaijuka, the UN Special Envoy on the evictions who is also the UN Human Settlements Programme's (UN-HABITAT) Executive Director, issued a report last month saying some 700,000 people had lost homes or businesses in the Government of Zimbabwe's demolitions, UNICEF said all of the more than 100 women in the Zimbabwe Parents of Children with Disabilities Association are receiving emergency humanitarian assistance.

One of them, Barbara Fero, an HIV-infected widow whose home in the working-class suburb of Mbare was demolished and whose 9-year-old daughter is disabled, said the rented housing "is exactly what we need."

"Since the evictions I have been constantly sick," Ms. Fero says. "I do not have a place to take a rest, I cannot afford adequate meals, I am on ARV [anti-retroviral] treatment and I cannot afford to get my next monthly supply. My daughter, Elaine, needs to be accompanied to her school as the transport is no longer reliable and I do not have money."

In partnership with a local non-governmental organization (NGO), UNICEF gave the Feros blankets against the southern hemisphere winter, as well as cooking pots and soap.

UNICEF said it had joined the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the International Office of Migration (IOM), the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and local NGOs in providing hundreds of thousands of people with blankets and plastic sheeting for protection from the cold, along with sanitation facilities, food and shelter. The organizations are also supplying chronically ill people with home-based treatments.

"We have been working around the clock for the better part of three months and are improving the situation for tens of thousands, but such is the gravity of the situation that we are asking the international community to support the people of Zimbabwe," UNICEF's Representative in the country Festo Kavishe said.

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