Cholera fears rise in Harare as fights over water continue

More Harare residents have come to blows while trying to access clean water, as the shortage in and around the capital heightens fears of another deadly cholera outbreak.

Sylvia Bhasikolo, the Treasurer for Mabvuku Residents Committee, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that that she has seem many fistfights break out among disgruntled residents. Bhasikolo said the situation is becoming desperate.

“It is more than two weeks with no water. Everyone now is fighting over one borehole. I walked around this morning and saw people fighting and screaming,” Bhasikolo said.

She added that some people have tried to protect the borehole and are fighting each other every day while preventing others accessing it. She explained that people are now trying to get water from other parts of the area, with no guarantee that the water is safe.

“There is serious risk for cholera. Last time (during the last cholera outbreak) we had many deaths. What if that happens again?” Bhasikolo said.

The current water shortages have been caused by a burst distribution pipe at the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant, leaving millions of people living in Harare, Ruwa, Chitungwiza, Epworth and Norton without access to water. The worst affected areas have been Glen Norah, Budiriro and Glen View, where other fights between residents have broken out recently.

These areas were also some of the worst hit by the cholera outbreak in 2008, which was only brought under control in early 2010. Thousands of people died, all because there was almost no access to clean water.

Bhasikolo meanwhile questioned why no one has helped, despite the threat of cholera.

“Nobody has come to explain what is happening. Nobody has come with clean water. It is very serious,” Bhasikolo said. – SW Radio Africa News

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