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Cholera outbreak in Harare, Zimbabwe, out of control

Health authorities in Zimbabwe admitted Monday they have failed to bring a
cholera outbreak in the capital, Harare, which has claimed 37 lives, under
control amid a rising death toll. The disease broke out three weeks ago in
Harare, and health authorities have been battling to contain it. But city
health director Stanley Mungofa admitted Monday the cholera outbreak in the
city was getting worse and claiming more lives. He said at least 37 people
had died of the disease, but "there could have been (more) communal deaths.
The outbreak is widely blamed on consumption of unclean water, and has
defied concerted efforts by health authorities in the last two weeks to
contain it. A breakdown in the provision of clean water and administration
of health service s in Harare, like elsewhere in Zimbabwe because of an
economic crisis, is making it difficult to bring the cholera outbreak under
control. (Monday 17 November - 23:24)

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Cholera kills 36 in Beitbridge

Herald Reporters

While the cholera outbreak in Harare, which has claimed 37 lives, has abated
with slightly improved water supplies and a major clean-up, the disease has
hit Beitbridge, killing 36 people and resulting in the hospitalisation of

Zinwa appears to be trying to spread treated water more equitably between
Harare's suburbs, although some that were used to receiving regular supplies
have gone without for days. As efforts to contain the outbreak intensify,
Harare City Council on Sunday started removing rubbish at Mbare Musika and
some shopping centres in the city.

A few people were seen yesterday near the entrance to Budiriro Polyclinic in
the high-density suburb - the epicentre of the Harare outbreak - waiting for
news on their relatives admitted there.

A health official at the clinic, which has been designated a cholera
treatment centre, said the number of people being admitted with cholera had
eased over the weekend, which he attributed to better information.

Harare City Council would open an office to receive donations to assist
cholera victims in the city.

The market was given priority because it is Harare's main source of fruit
and vegetables.

The decision to remove the rubbish was taken at a special council meeting on
cholera on Friday.

But as cholera abated in Harare, it hit Beitbridge.

Beitbridge medical officer Dr Taikaitei Kanongara confirmed 36 deaths
between Friday and yesterday. Beitbridge General Hospital has been
designated as a cholera treatment centre. Four hundred and thirty-one people
have already been admitted at the hospital.

"Most of the admissions were on Sunday afternoon after people had learnt of
the outbreak. We expect that number to increase," Dr Kanongara said.

Health officials were yet to establish the source of the disease, first
reported on Friday night, but measures to contain its spread have already
been put in place.

Dr Kanongara said schools in the town have been closed temporarily while
sale of fruit and vegetables in the open has been banned.

According to preliminary findings, the outbreak could have been caused by
fruit such as mangoes and loquarts (mazhanje) brought into the border town
for sale, said Dr Kanongara.

He also said poor sanitary facilities, intermittent water supplies, flies
and poor refuse management could have contributed immensely to the outbreak.
His staff were working on contingency measures to combat the disease and
have since notified the Civil Protection Unit.The district had so far
mobilised equipment and material with the support of non-governmental

More resources and manpower have been mobilised from neighbouring districts
while disinfecting teams are fumigating infected homes in the town.

Dr Kanongara urged people in the border town to seek medical attention as
soon as they suspected that they had the contracted the disease.

Officer Commanding Beitbridge Chief Superintendent Nicholas Mawere said
police would continue to arrest illegal vendors and mount roadblocks on all
roads leading into the town.

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Residents castigate ZINWA, Government over the cholera catastrophe… as pictures tell a very sad story

17 November 2008


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is collecting information on the cholera scourge that is currently bedeviling the city of Harare; as part of the Association’s efforts to expose the true story. The Association and the residents of Harare are irked by the state’s deliberate plot to cover up on the magnitude of the catastrophe. The state has currently sealed off the cholera control centers (Beatrice Infectious Diseases center and the Budiriro polyclinic) from inspection particularly by civil society organisations, Independent media and NGOs, while the state media continues to downplay the death toll by disseminating conservative figures. CHRA and indeed the residents of the city of Harare hold the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) and the de-facto Government wholly responsible for the cholera crisis as well as the deaths and general suffering of the people as a result of this catastrophe.


The Combined Harare Residents Association warned the Government and ZINWA of a possible health crisis if urgent measures would not be put in place to effectively deal with the water crisis that gripped Harare since the beginning of 2008. However the Government through the Ministry of water and infrastructural development vowed that there was no going back on the ZINWA decision. CHRA, the residents of Harare and the citizens of Zimbabwe attribute the water crisis and the subsequent cholera catastrophe to the reckless and irresponsible decision by the Cabinet (or rather ZANU PF politburo) to authorize the ZINWA takeover of water and sewer management from the City of Harare, yet ZINWA lacks both the financial and technical capacity to manage such a mammoth task. For instance, ZINWA has got no board in place, while the institution has been failing to finance its own wage bill as well as procure protective clothing for its workforce.


For quite some time ZINWA has been struggling to procure water treatment chemicals as well as repair burst sewer pipes. On so many occasions, ZINWA has been shifting the blame to the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC) as well as the physical/geographical terrain for the chronic water shortages in Harare. Indeed CHRA and the broader population of the residents of Harare as well as all the affected and infected citizens of this country expressed their utter dismay at the state’s propaganda suggesting that the Governement has intensified the “war against cholera” as the RBZ and the Civil Protection Unit is roped in.


We the residents and citizens of this country wonder if we have to die first for an institution that claims to be our Governement to intervene and protect us? We wonder how many of us will have to die first before our supposed Government act!!


Moreover the Association is sad over the fact that, despite the state media having reported that the RBZ has given a substantial amount of money to ZINWA, the situation remains dire as water remains scarce and more people die of cholera.

The Combined Harare Residents Association declares that the residents will never watch by the wayside as the Government imposes a death sentence on them. CHRA will continue with its mass protests against ZINWA and the Government. The Association in conjunction with other fellow civic society movements will litigate against ZINWA (as an institution), ZINWA Management (in their individual capacity) and the Governement (as an institution) and the relevant Ministers, both in their official and personal capacity. . CHRA is also mobilising support for the residents in the form of clean water provision and the supply of water treatment tablets. The Association is also conducting public awareness campaigns, disseminating information on the control and management of cholera. Below are some of the pictures that expose the cholera crisis. More pictures will be ready upon request.  





A Cholera patient re-hydrates himself as he desperately waits for medical attention from this centre, as the cholera control centers run out of basic drugs.




Traffic gem… as motorists use their private cars to ferry friends and relatives suffering from cholera to seek medical attention from this centre.




Bee-hive… Cholera patients scurrying for medical attention from this health centre which is encircled by raw stagnant sewage.



Hopeful?… Cholera patients waiting for medical attention, which is hard to come by.




Helpless and powerless were these Cholera patients as they waited for their turns to access medical attention.



Exposing Government and ZINWA’s inability…., raw sewage flowing in front of a Health centre attending Cholera cases.





Only God can save them… Cholera patients admitted at a Health center with dilapidated furniture, without enough medical staff and medication.


The Good Samaritans …The few medical staff left at the center sacrifice their own health as they attend to Cholera patients without enough protective clothing and for very little remuneration.



Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and



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A Pictorial Presentation of the CHRA anti cholera protest against ZINWA and “Government”; in Budiriro

17 November 2008


The residents of Harare staged an Anti-Cholera protest in Budiriro on the 16th of November 2008. The protest was held to express solidarity with the affected and to protest against the government of Zimbabwe and ZINWA whose failure to provide clean water to the residents in Budiriro and all other parts of the city has resulted in the Cholera outbreak. The incidence of Cholera is rife in Budiriro and is spreading to the neighboring suburbs of Glen View, Mufakose, Glen Norah, and Highfields. Although state media claims that 37 people have since died of cholera, figures on the ground indicate that at least 106 people have since died since October the 1st 2008. The pictures below show the protest staged in Budiriro suburb. Other photos detailing the castrophe are readily available upon request.


Choosing to die by the bullet than cholera…..CHRA Members marching in the streets of Budiriro on Sunday the 16th of November 2008.







Residents defying the rainy weather, protesting at Budiriro Poly Clinic.


CHRA protesters at a Cholera victim’s funeral in Budiriro during the demo on Sunday the 16th of November 2008.


CHRA protesters mourn at a Cholera victim’s funeral in Budiriro.


CHRA protesters voicing their demands.


A resident shows his demand during the protest on Sunday the 16th of November 2008.


CHRA Chairperson, Simbarashe Moyo (Dreadlocked) and some protesters pay solidarity to a deceased Cholera victim’s family in Budiriro.




Protesters express solidarity with a Cholera victim’s family.




Enough is enough! CHRA Protesters at Budiriro Poly Clinic.



CHRA protesters invade Budiriro Poly Clinic.




Protesters march down a street in Budiriro.




We are prepared to die…Residents invade Budiriro Poly Clinic as the police threaten violence.



Leading from the front is the CHRA Chairperson, Simbarashe Moyo

(Dreadlocked) and Vice Chairperson, Beatrice Ngwenya (to his left)

 leading protesters marching along a street in Budiriro.



Overwhelmed by protesters! A police officer tries in vain to stop protesters from entering the Budiriro Poly Clinic.




CHRA Chairperson conveys condolences and a solidarity message to a family of a deceased Cholera victim in Budiriro.

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