Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, says his government will assist municipalities struggling to fight a cholera outbreak that has killed 32 people and affected more than 3,000 during the past three weeks.
After visiting the epicenter of the cholera outbreak in Harare, President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to help the Harare City Council with financial assistance and called on the corporate world to donate toward fighting the epidemic.
“We are raising money, which has been coming in daily, so that we fix the burst pipes at Morton Jeffery Waterworks and the Central Business District, as well as the suburbs... we have been told that most of these pipes are old and are bursting at any given time, so we have found some well-wishers who are helping us. We will continue to support the Harare City Council In its programs meant to sanitize Harare, because the council does not have enough powers to be doing all the work alone,” he said.
Nearby, David Shonhiwa, a vendor in Glen View, the suburban epicenter of Harare's cholera epidemic, says there have been improvements in the area's hygiene since cholera was detected, but more are needed.
“The situation is better now. We have been receiving clean water and we got buckets, but it has not been possible for everyone to get something because there are difficulties which others have been encountering,” he said.
Tuesday, a U.N. spokesperson in Zimbabwe, Sirak Gebrehiwot, said a U.N. emergency response fund may be activated as the cholera outbreak spreads to other parts of the country.
“In light of the appeal announced by the government of Zimbabwe to respond to the cholera, the U.N. has scaled up its support," said Gebrehiwot. "The regional office of the U.N. Humanitarian Affairs has already deployed three U.N. emergency humanitarian specialists in the ongoing response. This is in addition to our colleagues from UNICEF and the WHO, are already engaged on the ground in this emergency response.”
In 2008 and 2009, a cholera epidemic killed nearly 5,000 people. It only stopped after international organizations such as USAID, Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and U.N. agencies including UNICEF and the World Health Organization provided medicine and water treatment chemicals.