'Water shortages trigger cholera'

HARARE - Hatcliffe residents have blamed severe water shortages for the outbreak of cholera in the suburb, as Harare authorities yesterday said they were preparing for a likely uncontrollable spread of water-borne diseases in the wake of heavy rains.

The high density suburb receives water twice a week.

This comes as two people died from typhoid and cholera in Hatcliffe this week.

Apart from the intermittent water supply, resident Agnes Makamani said most residents were widows or unemployed and could not afford their rates, with council disconnecting supplies.

“There has always been a water issue here,” she told the Daily News.

“What we are now appealing for is for Council to put individual meters or even prepaid water meters so that every household pays for what they use. We have the taps in our homes, all we need is water,” Makamani said.

Hatcliffe councillor Naboth Munyengera concurred that the suburb’s water situation was dire.

He added that the water quality has also been compromised because of the continued heavy rains, which could pollute boreholes and shallow wells.

His ward has some areas which do not receive any municipal water, as they are not connected to the water mains.

Munyengera told the Daily News yesterday that Harare City Council’s “director of water Hosea Chisango promised to provide us with water daily”.

He said to contain the crisis, water bowsers will be deployed in areas where the precious commodity is not supplied.

This comes as two children are reported to have lost their lives, with total suspected typhoid cases of 604, and the outbreak spreading beyond densely-populated Mbare — the disease’s epicentre — to adjacent suburbs such as Budiriro and Glen View, where many have been sickened by contaminated water and food.

During a visit to Hatcliffe yesterday, this reporter witnessed women and children jostling to collect water from a council bowser that had been deployed in the area.

Combined Harare Residents Association chief executive Mfundo Mlilo said they were concerned by Harare City Council (HCC)’s reactionary approach to disasters.

“HCC has chosen to concentrate on window dressing measures such as the war on vendors operating in the Central Business District instead of dealing with the real problems that residents are facing daily as ratepayers,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s stone-broke government is finding it increasingly difficult to contain disease outbreaks in the country following fresh alerts of cholera in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces were two people have died already.

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