Australia gives $6.7 million for water

Seven small towns in the country have been thrown a lifeline by the Australian government through its International Development Assistance Programme to the tune of US$6.7 million that will go towards improving water and sanitation.

The assistance which was given to Zimbabwe through United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday will see at least 260,000 people from Chiredzi, Rusape, Bindura, Chipinge, Karoi, Shurugwi and Plumtree benefiting.

“The Emergency Rehabilitation and Risk Reduction Programme is making a positive contribution to our strategic goal to reduce poverty, save lives and promote opportunities for all regardless of gender, age or physical attributes,” said Australia’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Matthew Neuhaus in a statement Wednesday.

The assistance will go a long way in intensifying efforts to reduce the risks of cholera and other water borne diseases through the rehabilitation of water and sanitation systems and hygiene promotion interventions.

It will also help revive institutional capacity by adding efficiencies to the billing systems and customer service, aimed at sustaining operations in the long term.

Recieving the grant on behalf of Zimbabwe UNICEF country Representative, Dr. Peter Salama said “This support is critical for improving access to services for the poorest women and children,”

“Investment in safe water and appropriate sanitation is critical to prevent outbreaks of water borne diseases and will assist Zimbabwe to meet many of the Millennium Development Goals”.

Zimbabwe’s water and sanitation situation remains in a critical state in both urban and rural areas and the current typhoid outbreak in Harare continues to underscore the vulnerability of the water and sanitation infrastructure in urban areas. It's estimated that 27% of the nation’s population do not access safe water and 40% do not have access to safe sanitation.

UNICEF and other development partners in 2008, when Zimbabwe was hit by Cholera outbreak, contributed immensely through the provision of water treatment chemicals and borehole drilling.

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