The UN says more than 400 Zimbabweans have died and 10,000 are ill as a result of cholera, the London Telegraph reports. But critics like opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai accuse the government of fudging even those high numbers, insisting that more than 500 have died and half a million are sick. The unprecedented outbreak has spread from rural to urban Zimbabwe as clean water becomes less and less accessible under a collapsing infrastructure.
Cholera spreads through dirty water and causes excessive vomiting and diarrhea. The internationally-isolated government of Robert Mugabe blames Western sanctions for the water crisis: "The only hindrance is that even if we tell people to first wash their hands before eating, how will they do so if there is no water?" an official tells the state media, quoted by the AP.