Zimbabwe declares state of emergency in cholera outbreak

Maricruz Casares
Setiembre 15, 2018

The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has risen to 25, the government said Thursday as the World Health Organisation warned that the water-borne disease is spreading rapidly in the capital Harare.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said in a statement Wednesday that the ban aims to alleviate "the continuous spread" of cholera in the capital, where the government has declared an emergency.

The move came after the Government declared a state of emergency following 20 deaths and more than 2,000 cases related to waterborne diseases such as salmonella, typhoid and cholera.

"What is more important is for the councils to make sure that sanitation in their area is up to date and that water is clean".

"When cholera strikes a major metropolis such as Harare, we need to work fast to stop the spread of the disease before it gets out of control", said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa.

The ban could affect a rally by the main opposition on Saturday where the party planned a mock inauguration for its leader Nelson Chamisa whom supporters say was robbed of victory in elections on July 30.

"There are now 3,766 cases".

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"The current cholera epidemic is a bad effect of Zimbabwe's failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system". The area is vulnerable to cholera because of inadequate supplies of safe piped water, which has led people to use alternative unsafe supplies such as wells and boreholes.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe, has pledged to revive the economy and improve public services.

"To contain the outbreak and mobilise resources we have declared a state of emergency in Harare, and are working closely with our worldwide partners", Mnangagwa said Wednesday on Twitter.

A total of 4,000 people died and at least 100,000 people fell ill.

"No lessons were learned from the 2008 epidemic and the outbreak and deaths we're seeing now is symptomatic of a still broken-down sanitation infrastructure and poor sewer management, worsened by shortages of drugs and medical supplies".

Cholera is caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water and can kill within hours if untreated.

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