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Bulawayo residents go 4 days without water

by Staff reporter
25 Mar 2020 at 05:49hrs | Views
A MAJORITY of Western Suburbs in Bulawayo have gone for four days without running water a time when global health experts are promoting strict hygiene to stop the Covid-19 outbreak.

Council last week announced that it was cutting water supplies for three days in all suburbs between Saturday and Monday at midnight to upgrade water and sewer reticulation systems under the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) project. By the fourth day yesterday, most suburbs were still dry.

Residents have slammed council over the development which puts them at risk of contracting the virus.  As part of the measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, members of the public have been urged to constantly wash their hands and maintain high standards of cleanliness.

Ms Shamiso Musekiwa Zimbabwe recorded its first coronavirus death when broadcast journalist Zororo Makamba succumbed to the disease on Monday. By yesterday, only two cases of infection had been confirmed countrywide but infections are increasing exponentially in other countries.

Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube yesterday, without indicating when supplies would be restored, said the water shutdown will extend beyond four days in suburbs including Nketa 9, Nketa, Sizinda, Tshabalala, Bellevue, Newton West, Nkulumane and West Somerton while council replenishes reservoirs. He said other areas that would be affected include Maplanka, Luveve, Njube, Mpopoma, Mabutweni, Iminyela, Pelandaba and Matshobane.  

"The normal 96-hour water shedding, will resume on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 following the second phase of the rehabilitation works to give time for the system to stabilise and for residents to at-least be able to draw enough water for primary use." Residents said they feared the situation made them vulnerable to infections like Covid-19. Ms Shamiso Musekiwa of Makokoba suburb said council had used a hailer to inform them about the three-day water shutdown, assuring residents that it was going to restore water supplies on Monday night.

"Actually, we were surprised that the council was announcing a citywide water shutdown at a time when there is public education about coronavirus. This is the fourth day without water. We have children in our homes, there is no water, the toilets are dirty, we are told to constantly wash our hands. We are exposed to cholera and we risk contracting corona," said Ms Musekiwa.

Another resident, Mr Vusumuzi Nyoni from Nguboyenja suburb said he harvested water following Monday's rains.

Mr Zibulo Nyathi of Mpopoma suburb who said in light of Covid-19 said council should suspended maintenance projects that could disrupt continuous water supplies.

"I think even the 96-hour weekly water shedding programme should be suspended and council should come up with new measures. Without water, it will be difficult to maintain hygiene. How do you wash your hands at 20 minutes intervals without running water, as is encouraged to curb the spread of coronavirus?" asked Mr Nyathi.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) coordinator Mr Emmanuel Nkomo said they have noted with concern that water had not been restored in most suburbs across the city yesterday. He said the residents' association was also compiling a report on the number of suburbs that still had no water.

"Council shut water supplies to some of the suburbs on Thursday. You can imagine what residents in those areas have been going through. In this crisis situation, it is important for to council provide water to residents. We have been trying to engage council over the issue but it seems there is too much bureaucracy. We will keep putting pressure on them so that they realise the urgency associated with the coronavirus and the need to take extraordinary measures," he said.

Source - chronicle

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