Zvishavane: AS government battles to control the outbreak of Typhoid in the Midlands Province, it is the informal traders who continue to bear the brunt of the scourge as authorities have turned their arsenal on them in a bid to control the water borne disease.
Typhoid has already claimed eight lives in Gweru while two cases have also been confirmed in Masvingo.
Fears abound the disease could spread to other parts of the province.
Last month, vendors in Gweru – the epicentre of the menace – were engaged in running battles with police who were trying to drive them away from the central business district.
On Tuesday, informal traders were also reportedly driven out of the central business district in Kwekwe as part of efforts to control the spread of the disease.
On Thursday, the Zvishavane Town Council destroyed gardens along sewer streams leaving vendors fuming.
“We were surviving on selling these vegetables to earn a living and take care of our families,” said one fuming resident who identified himself as Josias Dube.
Another resident, Marian Moyo blasted the local authority for carrying out the blitz without consulting them.
“We were shocked to find our gardens destroyed, the council should have consulted us first and we find a way forward instead of destroying our source of livelihood,” she charged.
The local authority`s engineer Dominic Mapwashike said they took the decision as a means to prevent a potential outbreak of Typhoid in the mining town.
“There are illegal gardens that are not within the residential stands and are along sewer manholes. Actually, they are blocking sewer manholes and using the water to irrigate their vegetables,” said Engineer Mwapashike.
“We are faced with an outbreak of Typhoid in Gweru and it is a health risk for us as they sell those vegetables to residents.”
Mwapashike added that they also have a challenge with raw sewage which, as a result of tampering with sewer pipes, will flow into residential areas exposing residents to waterborne diseases.
Several such operations have been launched to rid city centres of informal vendors but due to the biting economic situation, they always find their way back to the streets.
In 2005, government unleashed the police and army to destroy ‘illegal structures’ in a widely condemned “Operation Murambatsvina” which affected a lot of informal businesses.
Typhoid fever, caused by bacteria Salmonella typhi, is a serious and potentially fatal infection.
It typically causes fever, headaches, nausea and severe loss of appetite and takes between 10 and 20 days to develop symptoms once the condition is contracted.