By Tonderai Saharo
Masvingo: Cash-strapped urban councils are each set to receive a month’s supply of water treatment chemicals running into millions of American dollars from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as part of the organisation’s humanitarian efforts to cushion local authorities from the effects of COVID-19.
This is according to a circular addressed to urban authorities by the Local Government Ministry.
The Harare City Council was the only urban authority that was not listed as a beneficiary and the reasons for the omission were not stated.
“UNICEF has offered to purchase a month’s supply of water chemicals for all urban authorities with the exception of Harare to cushion them from the effects of COVID-19,” the ministry said.
“The quantities of chemicals to be supplied are based on the information provided by council engineers to the department of water. UNICEF has already placed an order for the chemicals and these should be available towards the end of May,” reads the circular.
The Acting Town Clerk for Masvingo, Edward Mukaratirwa welcomed the donation and said local authorities have in recent years benefited immensely from international development partners in times of pandemics, saving the unnecessary loss of thousands of lives.
“The gesture extended by UNICEF is well appreciated. We continue to enjoy a cordial relationship with these development partners,” said Mukaratirwa.
“They did the same during the cholera epidemic of 2008 by providing water treatment chemicals and also the rehabilitation of water and sanitation infrastructure soon after the epidemic.”
Most urban councils have been failing to supply water to residents due to a number of factors including a shortage of water chemicals, most of which are imported.