City officials of Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, have ordered the reconnection of water supplies to more than 300 households in the Dzivarasekwa suburb which have gone for more than seven months without water amid mounting typhoid outbreaks.
Deputy Nayor Emmanuel Chiroto and Harare Clerk Tendai Mahachi met Monday with a delegation from the area, but sources reported that Chiroto professed ignorance about disconnections of water services to residents. He said the water supplies had been disconnected by corrupt council officials seeking to profiteer from residents.
The meeting was initiated by the Combined Harare Residents Association.
Chiroto then directed city employees reconnect water supplies.
The Combined Harare Residents Association also complained about the lack of toilets in most households in the Dzivarasekwa 3 development, 40 years after the homes there were constructed. Chiroto promised to look into this.
Chiroto said he will be following up to make sure all affected households in the city’s other suburbs who’ve had their water disconnected are put back on the grid to avoid the spreading of typhoid and other water-borne diseases affecting the capital.
Combined Harare Residents Association Chief Executive Mfundo Mlilo said his organization will continue to fight for safe, clean and running water to be available in the city as authorities and health experts fight communicable diseases in Harare.
"With the ongoing outbreak of typhoid, it is unhygienic conditions such as the ones witnessed in Dzivarasekwa that exacerbate the spread of disease," said Mlilo.
Some 2,000 cases of typhoid have been reported in the capital and those figures are expected to continue rising as water shortages continue unabated.
Mlilo commended Chiroto and Mahachi for ordering the reconnections. "As CHRA we will continue to identify areas that have had their tap water closed for reconnection as we continue to fight communicable diseases in Harare," he said.
Despite the outbreak of typhoid in many areas of Harare and its high-density suburbs in particular, water supplies in many districts remain erratic, garbage piles up uncollected in many areas and vendors continue to eke out a living through the sale of food despite a citywide ban on such open-air commerce.
Correspondent Mavis Gama visited some of the affected suburbs in Harare and reports that residents are still struggling to find clean water with many complaining the local authority is not doing enough to address their plight.