Accessibility links

Harare Housing Demolitions Take Toll on Affected Families' Health

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Hundreds of residents have been left homeless in Chitungwiza and Epworth following the house demolitions Friday. (Courtesy Photo)

Hundreds of residents have been left homeless in Chitungwiza and Epworth following the house demolitions Friday. (Courtesy Photo)

The continuing housing demolitions in some parts of Harare where hundreds of families have been left out in the open, have begun to pose a health risk as families are failing to access adequate shelter.

The Harare city council maintains the houses were constructed illegally and that they in themselves were health hazards. The local authority said it is trying to secure land on the outskirts of the capital to resettle these families.

Residents said they now fear they could be affected by illnesses dysentery, diarrhea and even typhoid as families, especially young children, have been left to live in unhealthy conditions.

Some of the affected residents in Budiriro had constructed their houses under Nungunyana, Tembwe and Tabudirira cooperatives.

Carlos Machingura of Together as One Cooperative in Budiriro said people are living in deplorable situations following the demolitions.

“Especially near current, some families are still sleeping in the open and I am told that some NGO’s are running around to make sure that they bring some comfort to those families,” said Machingura.

These Non-governmental organizations have taken action to assist the displaced families until there are relocated to avert a possible health disaster. They are assisting families with tent, food and water.

Machingura said the harsh cold season hasn’t helped the plight of the families, especially the young children.

“Most of the children are suffering from severe cold. The clinic, the local clinic near camp was busy since last week with children that are suffering with these severe colds.”

Another resident Sam Rodgers, whose house was demolished, told VOA Studio 7 due to the unsafe conditions, access to safe water and sanitation, he was forced to send his wife and two young children to their rural home until shelter was provided them.

But as residents pointed out, the circumstances are not the same for other families who do not have a rural homestead or are from other countries.

“I’m afraid because some of the families are of foreign origin like Malawians, Mozambicans so it’s very difficult at the moment, plus we haven’t heard anything at the moment from government,” said Machingura.