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Harare residents slam ZINWA after fatal Cholera outbreak

By Alex Bell
04 September 2008

The Combined Harare Residents Association has called for the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to hand over control of water supply and sewer reticulation management to the Harare city council.

It comes after one person died and almost 30 more people have been hospitalised this week following an outbreak of cholera in the crowded Harare township, Chitungwiza. It’s understood the outbreak occurred on Monday after weeks that saw an increasing number of chronic diarrhoea reports, as a result of a failing clean water system and numerous sewage spills that have contaminated the city’s water reservoirs.

The country’s ongoing political and economic crisis has seen the almost total collapse of infrastructure in the once thriving Zimbabwean cities. The deteriorating water and sewerage systems have led to a number of cholera outbreaks in recent years. Zimbabwe Water Authority officials have said the situation is constrained by costs, poor funding and frequent power cuts, which mean that water cannot be properly purified, if at all.

The latest cholera outbreak in Harare has now prompted the Combined Residents Association to lash out at the Water Authority and demand that the city council takes charge. In a statement released on Thursday, the Association said that the council must reclaim total control of the water and waste management in the city because the Water Authority had ‘failed’ to address the crisis.

The association’s Simbarashe Moyo told Newsreel on Thursday that the water situation is desperate and more people will die if it continues. He questioned why the Water Authority is ‘continuing to run in the city when they are failing,’ and said the Association has been in contact with the government’s Deputy Minister of Water affairs about the Harare City Council taking over water and waste management. Moyo added that the city’s residents hold the Government responsible for the water crisis and therefore holds the same Government accountable for the deaths as a result of the city’s dirty water.

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