Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How Bad Is Inflation in Zimbabwe? - New York Times

How Bad Is Inflation in Zimbabwe? - New York Times: "HARARE, Zimbabwe, April 25 — How bad is inflation in Zimbabwe? Well, consider this: at a supermarket near the center of this tatterdemalion capital, toilet paper costs $417"

But what is happening is no laughing matter. For untold numbers of Zimbabweans, toilet paper — and bread, margarine, meat, even the once ubiquitous morning cup of tea — have become unimaginable luxuries. All are casualties of the hyperinflation that is roaring toward 1,000 percent a year, a rate usually seen only in war zones.

Zimbabwe has been tormented this entire decade by both deep recession and high inflation, but in recent months the economy seems to have abandoned whatever moorings it had left. The national budget for 2006 has already been largely spent. Government services have started to crumble.

The purity of Harare's drinking water, siphoned from a lake downstream of its sewer outfall, has been unreliable for months, and dysentery and cholera swept the city in December and January. The city suffers rolling electrical blackouts. Mounds of uncollected garbage pile up on the streets of the slums.

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