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Pit latrines overflow in waterlogged Cowdray Park

by Staff reporter
22 Dec 2020 at 06:48hrs | Views
Residents are losing household property while fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases abound in a section of Cowdray Park's Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai area which is waterlogged as it lacks a drainage system.

A stench from overflowing pit latrines is worrying residents who are also fearful that their children may drown in ponds that have filled up due to rain. Already two minors have drowned in Bulawayo since torrential rains started pounding the city earlier this month.

Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai residents yesterday poured their hearts out after Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube visited their flooded houses. They said they feared that maggots from their toilets could end up getting into their homes.

One of the residents said he recently rescued a minor who almost drowned in a ditch. Most of the Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai area does not have a drainage system and water often flows directly into houses.

A health disaster is looming in the area as the pit latrines being used by residents are now over-flowing.

Even the roads have become impassable for small vehicles, as they have not been serviced for years. Mrs Priscillla Chigumbo, a resident, said the only solution is for the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to create a drainage system to divert the water from their homes.

"We can't even freely move around our houses anymore. My home is just waterlogged and I have to create a makeshift path that passes through my neighbour's home. If only you had come here soon after it rained you would understand what we are talking about. Our properties are being damaged by the rains. We are afraid to let children out of sight. We also face a serious threat of waterborne diseases since we are using pit latrines that are now overflowing because of the rains. Maggots are flowing all over. We need the council to create a drainage system that can divert the water from flowing into our homes because as it is, we are in a river-like pathway," said Mrs Chigumbo.

Ward 28 councillor Kidwell Mujuru said Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai houses were built on unserviced land.

"We don't have a drainage system. The houses were built on unserviced land so servicing of the land has become a challenge for council. Residents are now facing serious challenges as water is flowing into their houses. Property is being damaged. Sofas are being soaked in water and we fear for the children as they risk drowning. Already we have lost a child and another one was saved by a resident recently. I have engaged the council engineering department and we agreed that trenches should be dug as a matter of urgency since the rains have started," said Mujuru.

Minister Ncube who was accompanied by the local Civil Protection Unit said she has communicated with relevant departments regarding the Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai situation and believes they will soon address the problem.

"We came here on behalf of the Government so that we can work with the local authority because it's improper for residents to live in such areas.

"We are told a child nearly drowned after falling into a ditch last week. The ditch is on the road for that matter and the child was rescued by another resident."

"So, when we heard these challenges, we agreed that as leadership we should come to the ground and assess the situation while working on the way forward.

"I've engaged the Town Clerk (Mr Christopher Dube) and the Minister of Local Government and Public Works (July Moyo). So, we are here to ascertain the extent of the damage.

"Council is already working on the bill of quantities on what is needed to address this challenge," said Minister Ncube.

She said it is important for residents, Government and BCC to work together in coming up with a solution that will address residents' challenges.

In a telephone interview Mr Dube said council through the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) is working towards addressing the water and sewerage challenges in Cowdray Park's Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai area. However, he said the project will not effectively address all the challenges faced by the residents. Mr Dube said he has already notified Minister Moyo about the problem in the area as the council could not address the challenges on its own.

"I spoke to the Minister this morning. I told him that we are down and out and we can't do anything. "He promised to source devolution funds for us.

"He said we must submit a proposal, a proposal that we are going to submit today. What is important at the moment is just to get a bit of some funds so that we could fix some parts of the roads to make them trafficable.

"We still need to fix and complete the water and sewer systems," he said.

Mr Dube could not state the total amount of money needed to address the Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai situation.

Minister Moyo could not be reached for comment.

Source - chronicle