"There's nothing here. People are dying of illness and hunger. Burial parties are going out every day," said Michael Zava, a trader in Mhangura.
The hospital that serves the district is closed, and so is its small morgue, so there's no way of telling how many are dying, Zava said. Children's hair is discoloring, a sign of malnutrition. Adults are wizened and dressed in rags — they have no cash for new clothes.
Zava said he has seen villagers plucking undigested corn kernels from cow dung to wash and eat. A slaughtered goat is eaten down to everything but hooves, bones and teeth. Crickets, cicadas and beetles also can make a meal.
The food crisis began after 2000, when Mugabe launched an often violent campaign to seize white-owned farms and give them to veterans of his guerrilla war against white rule over the former British colony.
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