Schools forced to close as water crisis persists

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By Leopold Munhende

THREE Dete schools, in Matebeleland North have been hit by a water crisis which has forced their closure for two weeks with more likelihood the shutdown could stretch beyond that as no solution has been proffered for the now dire situation.

Sir Roy Whelensky primary, St Francis Xavier primary and Detema secondary schools were recently forced to shut down due to the crisis.

Sydney Torima, a councillor in the area, told this week that health officials were threatening to close the schools again if the situation did not improve.

“There is a time when we went for close to a month without water, then schools were closed, two primary schools and one secondary school before they sorted the problem out.

“A week later the water crisis restarted and health officials are threatening to close the schools again because they cannot operate without water,” said Torima.

Matebeleland North province has always experienced water woes despite the region’s proximity to the Zambezi River.

An ambitious project by the colonial Ian Smith regime to harvest water for the dry region from the Zambezi has failed to kick-off despite government assurances since independence.

The situation has not only affected schools, Dete clinic has also been forced to abandon use of its 5 000 litre Jojo tank.

The tank that is supposed to service the facility has not been filled with water in the past year.

Said Torima, “The water situation is a serious issue. Imagine you have got a wife who spends the day without bathing, goes to sleep without bathing and wakes up without a bath again.”