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Suffering Persists After Zimbabwe Razing Campaign

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Suffering Persists After Zimbabwe Razing Campaign

World

Suffering Persists After Zimbabwe Razing Campaign

Suffering Persists After Zimbabwe Razing Campaign

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Winnie Kondo with son, Bellington, on the banks of the Mukuvisi River in Harare, Zimbabwe. Kondo says Bellington's twin sister Belinda would still be alive if the government hadn't destroyed their home in last year's urban cleanup campaign. Jason Beaubien, NPR hide caption

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Jason Beaubien, NPR

Winnie Kondo with son, Bellington, on the banks of the Mukuvisi River in Harare, Zimbabwe. Kondo says Bellington's twin sister Belinda would still be alive if the government hadn't destroyed their home in last year's urban cleanup campaign.

Jason Beaubien, NPR

As Zimbabwe's economy collapses under 1,000 percent inflation, many of the people uprooted by a slum-clearance campaign last year remain homeless and unemployed. Human-rights activists in the Southern African nation say the country is on the verge of social upheaval.

A year ago in May, the government of Zimbabwe launched a weeks-long, urban cleanup drive called Operation Murambatsvina. Police and soldiers swept through the slums of Zimbabwe's cities, destroying the houses and informal markets of some 700,000 people.

Hear the story of and see images from last year's Operation Murambatsvina. hide caption

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The government says it was a campaign to eliminate illegally constructed buildings. Critics say it was an effort to punish opponents of President Robert Mugabe.

In addition to the misery inflicted by Operation Murambatsvina, the nation is entering its eighth year of recession. The capital is suffering water and power cuts; fuel and foreign currency shortages are chronic; and almost one-third of the population relies on international food aid to survive.

Before: Satellite image of Porta Farm, a temporary settlement on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe, June 22, 2002. Digital Globe, Inc./Amnesty International hide caption

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Digital Globe, Inc./Amnesty International

After: Satellite image of Porta Farm, Zimbabwe, April 6, 2006, after the government's cleanup campaign. Digital Globe, Inc./Amnesty International hide caption

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Digital Globe, Inc./Amnesty International