5 August 2012

Zimbabwe: Harare Grapples With Water-Borne Diseases

Photo: IRIN
Residents walk past raw sewage.

A local residents' trust has called on the Harare City Council (HCC) to show political commitment towards improving water delivery in the city.

The call comes after several outbreaks of diarrhoearal diseases such as typhoid and dysentery have hit Harare since the major cholera outbreak in 2008/9.

The latest outbreak of typhoid has affected about 300 people in Harare and Chitungwiza and it is feared that the disease is fast-spreading.

The Harare Residents' Trust (HRT) last week said the outbreaks were a result of "a clear lack of political will by the City fathers to proffer practical solutions to address the water challenges which the residents are facing".

Asked for a comment HCC spokesperson Leslie Gwindi, "We are not talking about that at the moment. We will call a press conference to give an update."

But acting Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto however defended the council saying it had done its best to revive water delivery to residents since taking over from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) in 2009.

"When we took over from Zinwa, there was no Firle (sewage plant) to talk about and we are now talking of 85 percent operating capacity to be reached soon," Chiroto said. "Sewage was flowing everywhere; there were leaks and rotten pipes everywhere.

We put new pipes and you no longer see much of these things nowadays although of course challenges remain here and there."

HRT said there was need for a complete overhaul of the water infrastructure in line with increasing demand for water.

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