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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
No fuel for Zimbabwe ambulances
Queue for petrol
Petrol queues can be hundreds of cars long
Ambulances in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, have run out of fuel, along with fire engines, council vehicles, buses and even undertakers' vehicles.

Prison authorities say they cannot transport suspects to court because they have no petrol.

Burst sewer and water pipes are not being repaired because council workers have no transport, said Bulawayo's mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube.

Zimbabwe is experiencing an economic crisis, with a lack of basic goods.

Supermarkets often run out of sugar and the staple food maize meal, while unemployment and inflation are rampant.

Black market

The BBC's Themba Nkosi in Bulawayo says thousands of people are walking to work due to the lack of public transport.

But he says cars can still be seen on the road - because people can buy petrol on the black market.

Government and court officials are also using the black market, he says.

Of the city's 12 ambulances, five had run out of fuel, Mr Ndabeni-Ncube told the South African Press Agency, Sapa.

"The general services of council are not being carried out," said the mayor, who is a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The MDC accuses President Robert Mugabe of ruining what was one of Africa's most developed economies.

Mr Mugabe says the problems have been caused by a western plot to oust him.

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