Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Monday the crisis in Zimbabwe appears “much worse than anything we ever imagined” after the government there blocked his weekend humanitarian visit.
Carter, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and child advocate Graca Machel called for southern African leaders to halt the “deep suffering” in Zimbabwe, where the U.N. says more than 5 million people face imminent starvation.
The president of neighboring South Africa, meanwhile, warned Zimbabwe “may implode and collapse,” as he announced a new round of talks to try to resolve the political impasse.
His comments, some of the strongest yet by South Africa, come as a cholera epidemic has killed hundreds of Zimbabweans and spilled across the border into South Africa. Officials say Zimbabwe’s political and economic collapse caused the outbreak.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and the leader of the country’s ruling party, Jacob Zuma, expressed grave concern at Zimbabwe’s deepening humanitarian crisis after meeting with Carter, Annan and Machel.