MURRA expresses concern over ticking Cholera bomb

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Children fetching water from an open pit in Mahalape

Branton Matondo

Mutare Resident and Ratepayers Association (MURRA) has raised concerns over the deterioration of sanitation in Sakubva and Mahalape suburbs as Cholera cases increase in the city.
Manicaland has over the past weeks recorded double figures in suspected cholera cases and as of May 10, 2023, six deaths had been recorded.
An increase in confirmed Cholera cases was also recorded, with 46 new confirmed cases.
In an interview with TellZim News MURRA Programmes Director David Mutambirwa said that the state of hygiene in Sakubva and places surrounding the area is deteriorating while at the same time creating a breeding ground for Cholera.
“Sakubva is the oldest suburb in Mutare. When you visit the suburb, you are greeted with perennial running water in areas such as Old Location, Muchena, Maonde, Chinyausunzi, Matida, Chineta, Old Dangare, Zororo, Magregors, NHB and Murapa. Some of the flowing water is dirty with a punching smell. Clean water is also perennially flowing. The lost clean water is disenfranchising the areas where water is not available,” he said.
Mutambirwa also added that hygiene at Mahalape or Body Slam home to over 800 settlers is in a sorry state.
“Social amenities are not known to the people of Mahalape. There is no refuse collection, no water, no electricity and no road networks. Only God knows where they relieve themselves. Some of the neighbours buy water from nearby locations while others have dug open wells for domestic use,” added Mutambirwa.
A resident of Mahalape who spoke on condition of anonymity said most of the people in the settlement have resorted to bush toilets because there are no proper toilets.
“There is nothing that we can do because there are no toilets. People who live close to the railway line relieve themselves in the railway line. Some of them find a discrete place to relieve themselves. We really are surviving on God’s grace,” said the resident.
Addressing local media recently, Mutare District Health Promotion Officer Sophia Nezandoyi said Manicaland is at risk as surrounding areas are experiencing a rise in confirmed Cholera cases.
“Cholera cases were high in Burma valley from February to March and by April the cases were low. However, there is now an increase of cases in Bocha, Odzi, areas in Marange. We assume that the main cause of an increase in cases in Chishingwi is contaminated water in Odzi River because there are a lot of informal miners (magweja),” said Nezandoyi.
The issue of sewer streams was also raised in a constituency feedback meeting held last year by Mutare Central Constituency Member of Parliament Innocent Gonese at Sakubva tennis court.
On the sidelines of the event, Reverend Muchebve from Church of Christ in Chinyausunzi said the issue of poor sewer systems continues to put people’s lives at risk amid confirmed cholera outbreaks.
“In my area of residence, the sewer pipes are outdated. We do not spend four to five days without a sewer blockage. When council comes, they push the waste to another pipeline. This goes on and on because the pipes are outdated,” said Muchebve.

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