Bulawayo Water Woes: So much more to fear than just Covid-19

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By Mbekezeli Ncube

THE recent rains coupled with an ironical shortage of portable water in Bulawayo has presented a slew of health-related fears for schools in Bulawayo, which are already battling to wad off the Covid-19 scourge from their doorsteps.

Bulawayo’s perennial water woes worsened inside the past one year.

However, the Covid-19 outbreak has brought more panic among authorities and residents alike as the highly infectious diseases requires constant availability of running water to contain.

Schools, in which the country’s most vulnerable population congregate every day, are some of the key areas of concern.

Some suburbs in Bulawayo receive water for at least once a week.

However, has observed that some schools notably in the densely populated western suburbs have gone without water at all.

According to health experts, Covid-19 requires people to wash their hands regularly.

Some schools in suburbs such as Pumula, Magwegwe and Luveve do not have other alternatives like boreholes or Jojo tanks as back up when there is no water.

Teachers who spoke to said they now also feared diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery and hepatitis.

They are pleading with the local authority to try other alternatives to avail water.

A teacher at a local school said they were trying hard to maintain recommended Covid-19 prevention methods but were being let down by the continued shortage of water.

“Not a drop is coming from the taps. Our main source was the borehole, but thieves stole our submersible pump, and we are now failing to replace it.

“Parents are not forthcoming with payment of fees and levies; toilets are now a danger to humanity.

“With no water, we now fear other outbreaks other like cholera and diarrhoea that might strike,” he said.

A female teacher at a Magwegwe school pleaded with the local authority to help resolve the water crisis before more lives are lost through diseases.

“During this difficult time of COVID-19, my request to the city council is that they supply us with big Jojo tanks which we will use to store water which will save us when there is no water in the taps,” she said.