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Water Woes Produce Outbreaks Of Diarrheal Disease In Harare Suburbs

Some of the populous high-density suburbs or townships of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare have been stricken with outbreaks of diarrheal disease in recent weeks which authorities blamed on chronic water shortages and the accumulation of refuse.

More than 400 people are reported to have come down with diarrheal disease in the densely populated suburbs of Tafara and Mabvuku in the past two weeks, according to the state-run Herald newspaper. The paper identified uncollected garbage, sewage backups and deficient water supplies as the causes of the outbreaks.

City authorities say they have been unable to collect garbage for some time because fuel is in short supply, while a lack of hard currency has prevented the city from buying new pipes to repair breaks in sewer lines.

Authorities at Harare’s Parirenyatwa Hospital said, however, that they had not linked the outbreak with any deaths.

Executive Director Itai Rusike of the Community Working Group on Health told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that cholera could break out with potential loss of life if immediate steps were not taken to control the situation.

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