Govt steps in to fix Harare mess

Sunday Mail Reporter

The GOVERNMENT has stepped in to restore sanity in the capital, Harare, by supplying potable water and rolling out a major clean-up campaign to curb the spread of cholera.

Thirty-six trucks have been mobilised for the seven-day blitz, codenamed “Operation Chenesa Harare”, which began on Friday and will be targeting solid waste dumps in the central business district (CBD) and residential areas.

Over 122 tonnes of garbage were cleared on the first day of the operation.

The authorities, who have since mapped cholera hotspots within the city, will also embark on a vaccination campaign targeting about two million people in the worst affected areas over the next few weeks.

In addition, efforts were being directed towards boosting the amount of potable water being pumped from the city’s water treatment plants from the current 250 mega-litres per day.

Cholera cases have been steadily rising in recent weeks, raising public alarm, amid concerns over the capital’s poor sanitation and water shortages.

Harare City Council has proved to be incapable of providing basic services, which is putting the live of residents at risk.

A high-level meeting involving officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care; the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works; and the Ministry of

Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion will be convened tomorrow to facilitate the release of funds to procure water treatment chemicals for Harare.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said the operation was necessitated by rising cholera cases across the city.

“As you know, it (cholera) is a deadly disease when not managed well, but the causes are easily preventable, because it is caused by poor hygiene and sanitation conditions,” said Dr Mombeshora.

“Part of this (operation) is to address these poor hygiene conditions which are prevailing in Harare.

“It is the duty of Government to intervene when things are not moving properly.

“Harare City Council is failing to collect garbage, provide potable water, proper sewer reticulation system and solid waste management.”

The Government, Dr Mombeshora said, had mobilised resources from both the public and private sectors to undertake the operation.

“We had given ourselves one week, starting from January 5 up to January 12, to ensure that all the garbage in Harare is collected.”

To facilitate the seamless implementation of the blitz, he said, the authorities had subdivided the city into different regions to ensure efficiency.

“In total we have 13 tipper trucks, six front-end loaders, a backhoe loader and 16 refuse compactors

“Yesterday (Friday), we managed to remove slightly over 122 tonnes, with all the garbage taken to Pomona dumpsite.”

He added: “So, we have arranged five regions, with region one covering the CBD, Mbare, Sunningdale, Waterfalls and Hatfield.

“Region two will cover Harare South, which is Southlea Park, Hopley and Ushewokunze.”

Region three covers Highfield, Southerton, Glen Norah, Glen View, Churu Farm, Budiriro and Mufakose — areas the Government said were typically cholera hotspots.

“Fourteen trucks are operating in this region,” he added.

“We are hoping that within seven days, all the garbage will have been cleared.”

Region four will cover Dzivaresekwa, Warren Park, Kambuzuma, Kuwadzana, Mabelreign, Marlborough and Mt Pleasant, while Borrowdale, Hatcliffe, Highlands, Mabvuku and Tafara fall under region five.

“We are also going to the next stage, where we want to provide clean potable water,” he added.

“Government is moving in to provide resources to procure water treatment chemicals, which will be provided to the City of Harare.

“Currently, I am informed that the supply of potable water has dropped from 350 megalitres to 250 megalitres.

“We have scheduled a meeting on Monday with the Ministry of Finance on the issue of water treatment chemicals.”

The Government, he also said, will closely monitor schools to ensure cholera does not spread in these learning institutions.

“On the issue of opening of schools, it (cholera) is not highly contagious as compared to Covid-19.

“We want all schools to implement proper hygiene.

“We are hoping that by the time schools open, there will be enough water; soap will be provided, and we are also encouraging foot baths so the learners decontaminate.

“It does not necessitate delay in the opening of schools,” said Dr Mombeshora.

“At every school, there should be a health educator, who will be monitoring compliance.”

He said Government will soon begin dispatching cholera vaccines to hotspot areas.

“We had our last meeting with the World Health Organisation two days ago, and we have mapped districts that are affected, because we do not have enough vaccines to cover the whole country and we have a target of about two million people.

“Hopefully, by Wednesday, we will have approvals, then we will start getting the vaccines.”

Since the outbreak of cholera in February last year, Zimbabwe has recorded 15 137 suspected cases, 1 759 confirmed cases, 14 578 recoveries, 67 confirmed deaths and 266 suspected deaths.

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