Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

S Africa team in cholera aid trip

Choler patients in a clinic near Harare
Cholera patients in Zimbabwe are waiting for help

A South African delegation is visiting Zimbabwe to decide how best to help deal with a cholera outbreak that has killed nearly 600 people there.

It is already giving food and drugs, and is trying to decide how much additional aid is needed.

The World Health Organisation has said nearly 14,000 cases of the disease have now been reported in Zimbabwe.

Harare appealed for international aid last week, declaring the cholera epidemic a national emergency.

'Bitter disappointment'

Over the border in South Africa, eight people have died of cholera in the town of Musina, which is "the first port of call for Zimbabweans crossing the border", says the BBC's Jonah Fisher, who is in the town.

South Africa, SADC and the world should tell Robert Mugabe to step down. He has caused too much damage to Zimbabwe
Ace, Gaborone

"Musina is also now a treatment centre for Zimbabweans with cholera, unable to find clean water or medication in their own country."

On Sunday, the Elders group of influential statesmen said that President Robert Mugabe's government could not lead Zimbabwe out of its current humanitarian crisis.

The group - which includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan - said there was "bitter disappointment" with the current leadership.

The group also called on the Southern African Development Community to help contain the outbreak.

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