Mbare Flats undergo refurbishment

HARARE – Harare City Council (HCC) has started the refurbishment of pipework at the Mbare flats to avert a typhoid outbreak.

According to the director of works Zvenyika Chawatama, the city is getting assistance from globally-renowned aid and development charity Oxfam but still needs more partners to complete all the flats.

HCC has more than 10 blocks of flats in Mbare that need a complete overhaul. There is no running water that reaches the toilets, which are communal.

“The problem of burst sewer pipes and unavailability of water is a major issue at Mbare’s flats and hostels and that is what we want to alleviate.

“The immediate solution to the problem at the flats is what we are currently undertaking through these repairs. We are confronted with diseases such as typhoid and cholera which have been frequently occurring in Mbare and we cannot allow that to simply happen. We are mandated to restoring people’s dignity by giving them safe and clean toilets,” he said.

He said the CBZ plan to build new flats was a long-term measure subject to the availability of funds.

The director said they are starting with 20 flats and will go on to the remainder.

“We are looking for partners that can help us with the rehabilitation project of the flats through materials and others. Unicef has also bid to help us with the project,” Chawatama said.

After the typhoid outbreak in October last year, suspended health services director Prosper Chonzi said at that time the situation at the flats was a health disaster because of overcrowding.

Chonzi said the situation at the flats would only be solved once the issue of hygiene was addressed in the area.

“The situation in Mbare and particularly at Matapi is quite untenable. We want to be able to house those people properly. There are over 23 000 people staying in those flats instead of 2 140.

“Each of those units is supposed to be housing 60 people and there are 14 such units. Of the 23 000, more than 12 500 are children under five years old.

“We want to be able to provide the basics like water and sanitation for those people.

“The issues of health will really be at the tail end if we are to manage an outbreak of this nature,” he said.


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