Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that in a discussion with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe he stressed that the southern African country's housing and market evictions must be stopped and those made homeless, estimated in a UN report at 700,000, must be adequately housed.
Mr. Annan told journalists that in a telephone conversation with Mr. Mugabe on Friday, after the report was made public, he "stressed the need for action to be taken to help the people affected, to stop the clearances and to ensure that those affected are not only looked after but they are given adequate housing."
"We, the international community, would want to muster the aid necessary to help the people (and) to work with the government in changing the situation," he added.
Mr. Annan said all 191 Member States had been given a copy of the report and it was up to the 15-member Security Council to decide on the next steps.
The report on Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order) was written by UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka and her entourage after two weeks of criss-crossing the southern African country.
In it she said the demolitions were "carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering" and, beyond those who had lost homes and businesses, indirectly affected another 2.4 million people.
UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said Ms. Tibaijuka had added a UN-HABITAT officer to the UN country team in Zimbabwe to help advise the Government on the technical aspects of resettlement.