"Operation Restore Order" threatens anti-AIDS efforts - UNICEF

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has warned that the forced eviction of informal settlers in Zimbabwe is likely to undermine anti-AIDS efforts.

A government crackdown on informal settlements and markets has left about 250,000 people homeless.

UNICEF's communication Officer, James Elder, said the agency was concerned about the impact of the crackdown on people living with HIV/AIDS.

On Monday he told PlusNews that "the resulting displacement has had an alarming effect on both HIV-positive people and volunteers who have been trained to roll out home-based care".

Official statistics estimate Zimbabwe's HIV prevalence rate at around 21.3 percent.

In a statement UNICEF said it was "currently bereft of any international support to assist those affected, ... [and] is seeking more than US $2.7 million to continue with all existing activities, while delivering expanded and urgent health packages, a range of non-food items, continued HIV prevention and care, and to place social workers in key areas".