Typhoid fear grips Bulawayo, Masvingo
Thandeka Moyo/ Walter Mswazie, Chronicle Reporters
THERE are fears that the Typhoid outbreak that has killed eight people in Gweru may spread to Bulawayo and Masvingo after a number of suburbs have gone without water for days in the two cities.
Thousands of Bulawayo residents were left stranded over the weekend after the Bulawayo City Council initiated a water shedding programme which has lasted more than 48 hours.
The BCC last week said it was struggling to fill up Magwegwe reservoir which services Nkulumane, Nketa, Emganwini and Cowdray Park suburbs.
In a statement, it announced a 15-hour daily shedding schedule for the suburbs between 6PM and 9AM starting last Friday.
The BCC promised to send bowsers if the water shedding schedule exceeds stipulated times. It also advised members of the public that there is an ongoing exercise to normalise the Magwegwe Reservoir level.
“The level has been critical for the past two weeks due to erratic pumping from Nyamandlovu Aquifer. The boreholes have been affected mainly by power failure,” read the statement.
“ZETDC is working to restore the power supply and therefore increase the boreholes pumping to the City. Affected areas include Nketa, Nkulumane, Cowdray Park and Emganwini.
“All high areas that are likely to be affected for more than 24 hours will be supplied by water.
“Residents are advised that the programme is subject to change should the Reservoir level improve or deteriorate beyond the critical level.”
A survey by The Chronicle around affected areas yesterday afternoon revealed that council had failed to send the bowsers.
“We are tired of sending our children to the bushes when they need to relieve themselves, it may cause serious diseases like typhoid which has killed some people in Gweru. We last had water on Saturday at 7AM and council is yet to send bowsers,” said a disgruntled Ms Gamuchirai Mhike from Emganwini.
She said residents were spending more than seven hours queuing just to fill two buckets at a community tap.
“The whole of Emganwini has been flooding this tap since Saturday including those from Mbundane. It’s so pathetic and council should address this before it is too late,” she said.
Mr Hloniphani Ndlovu from Nketa 8 said residents appreciated the challenge that council was facing though they were not amused by the more than 48 hours ordeal.
“We understand that there is a problem, the least they could have done was put in place contingency measures which they haven’t,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Residents said some of them had developed running tummies after using water from boreholes.
BCC senior public relations officer Mrs Nesisa Mpofu had not responded to questions sent to her by the time of going to Press.
However, the local authority, through its Twitter account, yesterday said: “Good Day. The water supplies were reopened this morning. Most areas should start receiving water from midday today”.
A handful of Nkulumane residents confirmed that water supplies had been restored late afternoon while the rest had no water.
Meanwhile, Masvingo has gone for four days without tap water forcing residents to fetch the precious liquid from unprotected sources.
Water from the available boreholes has been certified unsafe for potable use.
In a statement, Town Clerk Mr Adolf Gusha confirmed the water crisis saying there were multiple faults on the pumping equipment with the capacity being limited since Thursday last week.
He said the local authority was carrying out repairs but he was not sure when normal supplies would be restored.
“The city is seized with carrying out repairs to the equipment that has been taken to Harare for repairs. While every effort is being made to expedite the repairs, we are unable to give a date when supplies will resume at full capacity,” said Mr Gusha.
He said the city had put measures in place to provide relief including sending out water bowsers to the worst affected areas and closing off supplies to low lying areas to allow the available water to reach more areas .
Mr Gusha said residents should wait for water supplied by council instead of fetching from unprotected sources to avert disease outbreaks.