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Bulawayo fears cholera outbreak

Bulawayo Residents fear Cholera

Bulawayo residents are wary of cholera or typhoid outbreaks in the city after the local authority indefinitely shut down water supplies to the entire city on Tuesday without notice.

The indefinite shutdown comes after the council, also without notice, on July 1 cut off water supplies to pave way for a major refurbishment on the Criterion water treatment plant.

On Tuesday, the Bulawayo city council (BCC) said it had failed to complete the refurbishment works which necessitated the indefinite shutdown of water supplies. According to the council, this is a first major upgrade of its water treatment plants since the 1940s.

The project, Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP), is being funded by the African Development Bank.

Council promised to deploy water bowsers to meet demand, but these have been nowhere to be seen. The only alternative water sources are boreholes, but these are overwhelmed, while some have broken down.

Some suburbs have gone for more than a week without water, with desperate residents now resorting to vandalising reticulation pipes in search of the beverage.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) acting co-ordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu blamed the local authority for putting residents’ lives at risk by not coming up with a Plan B during waterworks infrastructure repair.

“Bulawayo is, therefore, in the utmost danger of cholera and typhoid outbreak. This reflects poor planning and management of water resources by BCC,” Ndlovu said yesterday.

“Given the continued failure to finalise the project and scanty information from BCC and the failure by BCC to provide Plan B, BPRA is calling for a shutdown of schools until the situation returns to normalcy. BPRA is further calling for heads to roll in council and for relevant powers to declare a State of Emergency in Bulawayo.”

Bulawayo provincial education director Olicah Kaira admitted the water cuts had affected learning at schools saying: “It is not easy as we are now making use of bowsers, drums, and JoJo tanks since schools need water to be fully functional.”

Bulawayo Mayor Solomon Mguni, apologized for the dry taps, saying the waterworks were a necessary “pain” to improve water delivery to the residents.

“The rehabilitation of water treatment and pumping infrastructure under the African Development Bank’s BSWIP grant continues. There are times when we must take the pain to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of water delivery to our people. We apologize to our residents and stakeholders for the seven days of dry taps,” Mguni said.

The BCC has exempted hospitals, industry, mines, central business district and prisons from the blanket shutdown.

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Source – newsday

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