News / Africa

Rights Group Fears Waterborne Diseases Looming in Harare

Residences of Mabvuku fetch water from unproteacted sources in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 28, 2012.
Residences of Mabvuku fetch water from unproteacted sources in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 28, 2012.
Human Rights Watch is expressing fears that Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, will be hit by another outbreak of waterborne diseases unless authorities improve access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation.  A cholera epidemic in 2008 killed more than 4,000 people.

The New York-based rights group said a looming water and sanitation crisis in Zimbabwe’s capital places millions of residents at risk of waterborne diseases.

In a report entitled Troubled Water: Burst Pipes, Contaminated Wells, and Open Defecation in Zimbabwe’s Capital  Human Rights Watch said residents faced an increased threat from cholera, dysentery and similar diseases unless the water and sanitation situation was fixed.

Tiseke Kasambala is the Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch. 

“The water and sanitation in Harare is very, very serious.  As you might recall, in 2008, there was a serious cholera crisis that killed thousands of people.  And we are concerned, we recently heard of a typhoid outbreak in Harare.  We are concerned that these outbreaks of diseases are coming about as a result of poor water system throughout Harare, in particular in high density suburbs of the… city,” he said at the launch of the report Tuesday in Harare.

The 60-page report said many Zimbabweans still have little access to potable water and sanitation services, and resort to drinking water from shallow, unprotected wells that are contaminated with sewage, and to defecating outdoors.

According to the United Nations, nearly 70 percent of rural households in Zimbabwe do not have modern sanitation facilities, and about 40 percent of them practice open defecation.

Simbarashe Moyo from the Combined Harare Residents Association attended the launch of the Human Rights Watch report.  He said the issue of archaic sanitation facilities was not only in rural areas.

“From the report we are witnessing ruralization of urban area[s].  When you have unprotected wells and each and every household in Harare, Epworth, Chitungwiza and so forth.  Surely that is an indication that we are now in rural areas, [and that] you are no longer in town,” said Moyo.

Moyo affirmed the finding of Human Rights Watch that contaminated water from sewage was, at times, flowing into wells Harare residents depended on for drinking.

Zimbabwean officials refused to comment on the Human Rights Watch report, saying they have yet to see it.  Human Rights Watch said it invited officials to Tuesday's news conference but was told the officials couldn't make it.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid