Lack of clean water in Zimbabwe

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Residents of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, face a potable water crisis three years after a deadly cholera outbreak, Human Rights Watch said today. Zimbabwe’s central government and the Harare City Council should urgently act to ensure clean water for millions of people affected.

The water situation in Harare is largely the same as in 2008, when Zimbabwe experienced the most devastating cholera outbreak in Africa in 15 years. The outbreak killed 4,200 people and infected at least 100,000. Human Rights Watch found that the city’s perennial water crisis, which is linked to the cholera outbreak, is the result of the city’s obsolete water infrastructure, a ballooning population, severe droughts, and pervasive government corruption and mismanagement. Poor governance and disputes between the central government and the Harare City Council have hindered efforts to address the problems.

“Harare’s long unresolved water crisis is a ticking time bomb of magnified health risks that forces residents to seek alternative, often unsafe water sources,” said Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Zimbabwean authorities at the national and local levels should work together to promptly and permanently end Harare’s dangerous water problems.”

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