At least 18 people have died over the past week in the Zimbabwe capital Harare and scores fallen ill after a cholera and typhoid outbreak in some areas, authorities have said.
Such outbreaks are common as local authorities are battling to provide potable water and sanitation facilities in the city, where slums without running water have mushroomed and whose infrastructure is falling apart due to years of neglect.
Some suburbs go for weeks without running water forcing residents to fetch water from unsafe sources.
“As of this morning we had 18 deaths,” Clemence Duri, Harare city’s acting director for health services told AFP.
Tests on water samples from some wells and boreholes showed the water was contaminated with cholera and typhoid-causing bacteria.
“We have since decommissioned the boreholes and closed the wells,” he said.
Zimbabwe, ruled by Robert Mugabe since independence until his ouster last year, suffered its worst cholera outbreak in 2008. A total of 4 000 people died and at least 100 000 people fell ill.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe, has pledged to turn Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy by 2030.