Dry Masvingo fears cholera outbreak

MASVINGO - Fears of a fresh cholera outbreak have gripped Masvingo, where some residents have gone up to four days without running water.

Masvingo City’s high density suburbs of Mucheke, Rujeko, Majange and Runyararo West are most affected.
Desperate residents are now relying on unprotected sources for drinking water while many are relieving themselves in nearby bushes and by the roadside.

“We want to know why we have gone for close to a week without water,” fumed William Gandu, a Mucheke resident. “We are paying our bills and we expect uninterrupted supply of water yet we continue to be cut off. The situation is bad,” he said.

The country’s oldest urban set up has been grappling with a severe water crisis because of collapsing infrastructure, which is failing to cope with a booming population.

Residents say the situation is particularly worrying because of their past experiences with disease outbreaks.

“We do not want our children to succumb to cholera but we fear that is where we are headed because of this inept council. People are now using the streets to relieve themselves and this could lead to the outbreak of dangerous diseases. We want water now or we will take action against the city fathers,” Rotina Mawoyo, another resident, said.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC runs the council.

Mayor Femias Chakabuda said the water rationing was due to maintenance work at the city water plant.
“This is not a crisis at all,” Chakabuda said.

“We advised residents of this water rationing. We actually went there physically on a tour to all suburbs informing them that we will be having maintenance work at the pump to clean our systems for 48 hours and the situation is under control. So I urge residents to calm down,” Chakabuda said.

But residents denied ever being alerted about the water rationing that has gone beyond 48 hours.

Chakabuda said the water rationing has been prolonged after a water pipe burst during the maintenance work.

He said water shortages affecting the city will soon be a thing of the past after council received a $45 million lifeline from a Chinese company for the construction of a new water plant.

The city council is currently pumping 24 mega litres to over 100 000 residents who require about 60 mega litres daily.

The old pump is failing to meet the supply hence the need to construct a new pump. — Godfrey Mtimba

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