Monday, August 08, 2005

Life on Harare's streets

While Zimbabwean officials continue to blow hot air, life on Harare’s streets is dire. Here’s the latest picture of what it looks to be in Zimbabwe, trying to survive in right now.

There is nothing that money can buy in Zimbabwe. People have nothing-nothing. People are suffering and they are hungry. The prices of food and everything have gone up threefold since fuel price increases were effected but our salaries have not been reviewed.

Here are some of the prices:

-Bread; $12,000

-Meat (two pounds); $110,000

-Cormeal (staple food); $100,000

-Commute (one way); $8,000-15,000

The transport situation has eased a bit since they announced that people can buy fuel in foreign currency.

Then there’s petrol situation. The official price of a liter of petrol is $10,000. However, the blackmarket (which is really the only place you can buy it) is selling it for around $60,000/liter

Foreign currency isn’t any different either. Since the government officially declared that people can pay for fuel with hard currency, the parallel market has surged. People will happily pay $42,000 for the greenback and $8,000 for the rand.

The middle man are the catalysts of the fuel crisis. Fuel laundering is rampant in Harare. They go to people who want fuel and complete the transactions on the spot since they fear arrest. There is no fuel at the gas stations because the middlemen are intercepting it before it gets there and selling it for a huge markup.

Last week there was no electricity. Industries didn’t have electricity for a couple of days last week and some residential didn’t have it for the whole week. You can imagine getting home after work and finding that there is no electricity. To worsen the situation, due to water rationing some neighborhoods didn’t have water too. Some people didn’t have both water and electricity when they got home for much of last week.

These are the times we live in.

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