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Officials In Harare, Zimbabwe, Say Diarrhea Outbreaks Spreading

New outbreaks of diarrheal disease are affecting thousands of residents of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, according to local officials who blame the failing water system.

Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto said the latest outbreak has hit the Harare districts of Letombo Park, Masasa Park, Warren Park and Glen View. He noted that diarrhea has been a chronic problem for residents of the Mabvuku-Tafara district for some time.

Chiroto said he could not provide exact figures as to the number of residents who have fallen ill, explaining that most of them cannot afford to seek treatment at a clinic or hospital.

Zimbabwe's municipal water systems have been increasingly troubled in part due to the age of facilities, but also because authorities lack hard currency to buy purification chemicals.

Chiroto told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the city is trying to wrest control of the water supply from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, which took over all municipal systems last year, to assure residents have safe drinking water.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...