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Last Updated: Monday, 9 July 2007, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
'A banana costs more than my house'
There has been a wave of panic buying in many shops in Zimbabwe as the government enforces radical price cutting measures to try to tackle the world's highest rate of inflation - more than 3,700%.

One resident of Harare describes how the inflation is making life difficult for everyone, even those who are relatively well off.

People wait in a queue to buy sugar in Harare (7 July 2007)
Long queues form outside shops when new supplies arrive

At the pharmacy, I wait again in the gloom to have a repeat prescription filled.

It is for Phenobarbital tablets for my partner's mentally handicapped son, who suffers from epilepsy.

The tablets have gone up by 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($0.93 at the official exchange rate; $0.10 at the dominant black market rate) in a single day.

Hundreds of people are clamouring around the supermarkets, so I assume there has been one of the rare deliveries of basics like sugar or salt.

There is nothing I can afford.

A single banana costs 15 times more than I paid for my four-bedroom house seven years ago.

One candle now sells at 120,000 Zimbabwe dollars (US $3.70; $0.42).

That is twice as much as the government's stipulated farm worker's wage.

"This isn't living, it's barely surviving," I tell myself, but I know that so many Zimbabweans are not even surviving.

They are dying of hunger, malnutrition or preventable diseases.



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