Zimbabwe declares cholera emergency in capital

11 September 2018 - 13:48 By Reuters
Poor water conditions can lead to an outbreak of cholera.
Poor water conditions can lead to an outbreak of cholera.
Image: Gallo Images

Zimbabwe has declared a cholera outbreak in the capital Harare an emergency after 20 died from the disease and more than 2,000 people were infected after drinking contaminated water, new health minister Obadiah Moyo said on Tuesday.

Harare city council has struggled to supply water to some suburbs for more than a decade, forcing residents to rely on water from open wells and community boreholes.

This will enable us to contain cholera, typhoid and whatever is going on
Health minister Obadiah Moyo

The latest cholera outbreak came after burst sewers in Budiriro and Glenview suburbs contaminated water in boreholes and open wells, which are used by residents, said Moyo, who was flanked by Harare’s new mayor and health officials.

"We are declaring an emergency for Harare. This will enable us to contain cholera, typhoid and whatever is going on. We don’t want any further deaths," Moyo said after touring a hospital treating patients in the capital.

The health minister said the selling of meat and fish by vendors in the affected suburbs had been banned and the police had been asked to enforce the ban.

Moyo said the government had suspended classes at some schools in two suburbs at the epicentre of the outbreak and had also asked for help from the United Nations agencies and private companies to supply potable water.

Zimbabwe suffered its biggest cholera outbreak in 2008 at the height of an economic crisis when more than 4,000 people died and another 40,000 were treated after being infected.

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