Tuesday, December 20, 2005

No Refuge

More on the perils of being a squatter in Zimbabwe. from the Los Angeles Times (registration required.) Robyn Dixon reports from the ruins of Killarney, which, until is was destroyed six months ago under Operation Murambatsvina, was a shantytown in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city. The squatters were muscled out of town, only to find that they could not support themselves or feed their families outside of the city. So they have returned to Killarney and other areas, erecting rudimentary shacks, or occupying half-built buildings. "When the police come, they'll definitely destroy these shacks," one returnee, Jutias Muleya, 37, told the paper. "We are not really safe here."

The most desperate are dying, and the article features the story of Mavis Mkandla and her daughter Flora. Mavis, HIV-positive and unable to get treatment, died last month. Her six month old daughter died five days later of malnutrition.

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