MSF providing on-the-spot medical care to displaced following Zimbabwe's 'Operation Restore Order'

MSF is expanding its activities in Zimbabwe, sending more relief goods and international medical staff for activities in Harare, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo. By the beginning of August, MSF intends to have 17 expats present.

The government's campaign "Operation Restore Order" demolished houses and market places already affecting 700,000 people (according to UN estimates). Those whose homes have been targeted, have crowded into the houses of friends or family, travelled to rural areas, or have been forced to sleep in the open air or in crude shelters, lacking Ã? basic needs. Ã? 

Demolitions were continuing last weekend. Ã? 

Of those affected, some were moved to transit camps, the recent closing down of which has further displaced people; people already traumatized by the loss of their homes and livelihoods.

Only a fraction of the total number of displaced were living in the transit camps. Conditions in the camps were very poor, with no systematic support. Starting last week, the authorities closed down these transit camps, forcing the displaced to move to rural areas.

MSF had just started providing health care in the transit camp of Bulawayo and improving the water supply and sanitation in the transit camp of Caledonia Harare. Since the announcement by the government that all camps would be closed, these places of refuge have ceased to exist: Ã? Caledonia camp, which was housing around 5,000 people, is now empty, while in Bulawayo, the last of around 1,000 people are being moved.

MSF is assessing new locations, with the aim of providing medical care and relief items, such as blankets and shelter material. Ã? In Harare, MSF is already working in parts of the capital which were severely affected by the demolitions as well as nearby town of Chitungweza. Ã? 

MSF's medical care involves walking from shelter to shelter doing on the spot consultations. Ã? In a further area where we are hoping to work the population is estimated to have doubled since the demolitions started as people displaced from other parts of the city have sought refuge there.

On July 28, an MSF team travelled to Victoria Falls where preliminary assessments indicated that the situation is worrying as well.