HARARE – Zimbabwe has declared a health emergency in its capital Harare after a cholera outbreak claimed the lives of 20 people so far and infected 2,000 more, the health minister of the southern African country said Tuesday.
Numerous residents of the Harare suburbs of Glen View and Budiriro fell ill when their drinking water was contaminated by a blocked sewer pipe.
Obadiah Moyo visited cholera patients at hospitals throughout Zimbabwe’s capital and told reporters the health ministry was doing everything it could to prevent more deaths and would seek to contain cases of cholera and typhoid fever.
Although they live in the country’s economic center, Harareans do not escape the limited access to drinking water that inhabitants of the more far-flung areas of the country endure.
Many are forced to risk consuming contaminated water.
Cholera is contracted through food or water, which leads to severe diarrhea and dehydration and can be fatal if not treated.
Between 2008-2009, over 4,000 people died in the space of nine months and 90,000 people were infected during the worst cholera epidemic recorded in Zimbabwe.