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2009.01.29

* UNICEF: Executive Director visits border area affected by Zimbabwe crisis
* 시간: 03 min 28 secs
* 촬영도시: Musina
* 촬영국가: South Africa
* 촬영일자: 10 Jan 2009


You’re watching Unicef Television.


In the South African border town of Musina, a humanitarian crisis is unfolding. Historically the transit point for migrants seeking work in the country’s larger cities, it has now become the entry point for many desperate people fleeing the economic and social collapse in neighbouring Zimbabwe.


UNICEF’s Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman recently visited the area. 
She toured the town’s “showgrounds”, the first stop for many who cross the border seeking asylum. With 300 permits granted a day, the facility has become a makeshift camp for thousands of waiting people.


“ We’ve been looking at the issue of people coming in from Zimbabwe, waiting for their papers looking for a better life, fleeing from a lack of homes, a lack of food, cholera. We’ve had a chance to talk to many of the mothers who have children here about why they’re coming here, and it’s looking for a better life.”


UNICEF, in partnership with Save the Children, has set up a safe space for mothers with young children. It provides them with food, toys and safe place for them to wait while their papers are processed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.


Many like Betty and her sister, both with young infants, saw no other option. They climbed under the electric fence that demarcates the border.


“In Zimbabwe there is hunger. We can’t support ourselves. That is why we brought our babies here. There is no
food, nothing. Money is a problem, work is a problem--we can’t find jobs.”


More and more unaccompanied children are also crossing the border. Many are beaten, mugged or abused by the
violent gangs, who prey on those who informally cross the border. Many are orphaned, hungry and extremely
vulnerable.


“We are getting a large number of unaccompanied Zimbabwean children who are unable to get asylum permits
because they are coming in on their own. So they are congregating around Musina town. Our estimates suggest that there are 1,000 unaccompanied children in this small town and many more in the surrounding farming communities.”


To cope with the numbers, church groups and NGOs have set up drop in centers and shelters around town. At this
shelter, twenty boys live together. They are some of the lucky ones who now have a place to stay, and get three
meals a day.


As the humanitarian conditions in Zimbabwe look set to worsen, there is consensus that more and more people will seek refuge in S

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