THE authorities running the capital have declared a state of emergency as the city battles an ongoing cholera outbreak.
The declaration came after a Council meeting held at Town House yesterday, during which measures to combat the outbreak were discussed.
Mayor Ian Makone urged residents to change their behaviour to help combat the spread of the disease and called on people with relevant qualifications to educate the public on cholera.
He said Harare City Council spent between US$1 million and US$2 million a month on water treatment chemicals, but had a backlog of US$4 million for supplies.
“We are installing bowsers to deal with the water crisis and we are calling those who volunteer to work with us to come on board.
“We do not have a monopoly on education and we would appreciate those with the knowhow to educate the public on the cholera outbreak.
“We are in contact with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, which has an allocation for cholera where a figure of US$12 million has been mentioned, and the Town Clerk is engaging them,” said Makone.
He said the major driver of the cholera outbreak is lack of hygiene.
“It is water sanitation and hygiene where the City of Harare requires a whole battery of chemicals in order to treat water and I am relieved that of all the tests that our team is carrying out, Harare City water is portable except when it gets mixed up during distribution.”
Council Epidemiologist, Dr Michael Vere, blamed gatherings as super spreaders of cholera.
“We have noticed that gatherings are super spreaders and urge people to avoid them.
“We have seen people reporting symptoms after gatherings and the water we have in our homes is contaminated, so let’s buy water guards which are available in supermarkets.
“Let’s avoid buying food from vendors. Make sure that any funeral is reported.
“We are hearing that some of the deceased go to the extent of being buried without authorities knowing yet they would have died from symptoms of cholera.
“Any death has to be reported for supervision,” said Dr Vere.