By Anna Chibamu
A local lobby group, Community Water Alliance (CWA) has claimed that Harare’s poor neighbourhood of Glen View has been hit by a fresh outbreak of diarrhoea that could turn out to be either cholera or typhoid.
The outbreak comes days after the Harare City Council embarked on a water disconnection blitz in the high density suburb.
In a statement, CWA wrote that a visit to 100, 103, 104 and 94 Crescents in Glen View 8, Ward committees confirmed serious symptoms of typhoid with one case yet to be confirmed by health officials. This comes after council claimed it had reconnected the residents after a public outcry.
“CWA would want to inform stakeholders that contrary to City of Harare claims that they reconnected water supply on houses which were disconnected on Friday (26 July), council has not reconnected water supply.
“There is one suspected case of cholera/typhoid though it is not yet confirmed,” read part of the CWA statement.
Officials at the local authority argue that the disconnections are a necessary tool to force residents who owe it millions to pay and allow the municipality to continue offering services including water.
CWA has been working with an international humanitarian organisation, Oxfam to ensure residents have access to portable water after two devastating outbreaks in the past 10 years that left almost 5000 dead.
“We applaud Oxfam for a quick response to the challenges in Glen View and urge stakeholders to come and help,” said CWA.
Like all government agencies, Harare has been struggling with service delivery and water is at the very top.
Its major water supply dam Lake Chivero has been chocked by weeds as well as effluent discharge from companies and its own sewer system.
A cholera outbreak in 2008 left 4000 people dead. Since then, there have been intermittent outbreaks of typhoid across the capital. Areas like Mabvuku in the east have not had tap water for over 10 years now.