Old drains and dirty water: Zimbabwe’s chronic cholera crisis
Worse still, they now live in the epicentre of Zimbabwe’s deadliest cholera outbreak in a decade.
As of the 19 October, the current outbreak – one of several in Zimbabwe this year – had claimed at least 54 lives nationwide, with three quarters of the nearly 10,000 infections in densely populated Glen View and Budiriro.
According to health officials, the outbreak began in early September after two boreholes and a well used by Glen View and Budiriro residents for drinking water became contaminated by water from burst sewage pipes.
NGOs and private companies stepped in to provide tanks of water for the school, which needs to provide drinking water, toilets, and washing facilities for its 2,000 children.
Bjorn Nissen, MSF’s country director, told IRIN that boreholes drilled using new and improved techniques must be embraced as a solution until the city can provide clean and safe water in sufficient quantities to everyone.
In areas like Glen View and Budiriro, waste from burst sewage pipes easily flows into shallow wells, contaminating the water table.
Boreholes drilled in areas plagued by sewer leaks are often highly contaminated, particularly if the borehole is not deep enough.
“We have rehabilitated more than 70 boreholes in 13 suburbs in Harare.
So far, Malik said, there has been “zero contamination” in boreholes drilled using the new and improved technique, and MSF is in discussion with the City of Harare to roll it out more widely.
“What we need is fiscal commitment from both the local authorities and government towards WASH. We need a water budget.