Zim requires US$400m for safe water

cholera_checkingHARARE A senior government official on Monday said Zimbabwe required more than US$400 million to provide safe drinking water and prevent a recurrence of cholera, as a UN agency revealed that only a fifth of the countrys population have access to clean water. (Pictured - A

We need US$434 million to rectify the infrastructure for water and sanitation, said Water Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo during the launch yesterday of a ministerial committee formed to spearhead rehabilitation of the cash-strapped countrys water and sewer systems and prevent recurrence of waterborne diseases.

Nkomo appealed to the private sector to join the fight against disease and help the government provide water and sanitation infrastructure.

Asked by journalists if the government had the capacity to fight a possible cholera outbreak, Nkomo said the Harare administration was prepared for any eventuality, although he expressed fears that any future outbreak of the disease could get out of hand in some parts of the country.

Nkomo said: We are more prepared so that we have minimal outbreaks. But we are concerned in some areas (that the situation might get out of hand) in places such as Glendale and Chinhoyi.

Addressing the same occasion, United Nations Childrens Fund in Zimbabwe Peter Salama said a significant chunk of the countrys 12 million people did not have toilets or safe sources of drinking water.

One third of the population practises open defecation and only a fifth of the population has access to universally safe water, Salama said, statistics that further highlight the huge potential risk of an outbreak of cholera, diarrhoea and other diseases in Zimbabwe.

Collapsed drinking water and sewer reticulation infrastructure in Harare and other towns have made cholera — virtually extinct in Zimbabwe a decade ago — more common in the country where an outbreak of the waterborne disease two years ago infected nearly 100 000 people and claimed more than 4 000 lives.

The Ministry of Health is working with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to contain the outbreak in the area.

Post published in: Analysis

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