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Harare goes thirsty amid cholera epidemic

Video by Katherine SPENCER

Latest update : 2008-12-01

The National Water Authority has stopped pumping water into the capital, Harare, after it ran out of the chemicals needed to contain a cholera epidemic sweeping the country.

Zimbabwe has cut water supplies to the nation's capital Harare, state media reported Monday, leaving most of the city dry as authorities struggle to contain a cholera epidemic.
Since the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) had failed to find chemicals to treat the water supply, the state-run utility on Sunday stopped pumping water in the capital, the government mouthpiece Herald newspaper said.
"Most parts of Harare -- including the city centre -- did not get water yesterday amid claims by Zinwa staff that the authority had stopped pumping after it ran out of one of the essential chemicals," the Herald reported.
Residents in Harare's populous sister city of Chitungwiza told AFP that their taps had also run dry.
People throughout the city were carrying containers searching for water, while others have resorted to digging shallow wells in their yards in the hope of finding water.
Some government offices have closed down due to the lack of water and sanitation in the buildings.
The city has suffered water cuts for years, prompting wealthier residents to install deep wells or cisterns.
But the city-wide cut appeared aimed at stopping the flow of untreated water around Harare, which is at the epicentre of the cholera epidemic.
Cholera is a highly contagious, but treatable disease that causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting that can kill a patient within hours.
The government says that 425 people have died of cholera across the country and a total of 11,071 suspected cases had been reported since the current outbreak began in August.

Date created : 2008-12-01