Taps run dry in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare

Taps in Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare ran dry on Tuesday after it had to shut its main waterworks because of a shortage in foreign currency to import treatment chemicals, the city council said.

“We exhausted our water budget due to inflation and fluctuating currency,” city council spokesman Michael Chideme told dpa.

Residents in impoverished areas were forced to fetch water from rivers or wells, raising fears of water-borne diseases such as cholera.

Last year, Zimbabwe suffered one of the worst cholera outbreaks in a decade due to burst sewers and inadequate water supplies. In 2008, over 5,000 lives were lost to the disease.

“We have no option after we got up with our taps dry; we will boil water for drinking to avoid cholera,” said Esther Karwe, a resident who was fetching water from an open well.

However, boiling water could also become an issue due to frequent power cuts.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed in June to reintroduce Zimbabwe’s own currency by the end of the year in a bid to bring economic stability to the cash-strapped nation.

It abandoned its own currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, in 2009 due to massive hyperinflation.

The country, which was also hit by cyclone Idai in March, has been on the brink of infrastructure collapse for a number of years with around 5 million Zimbabweans dependent on aid.

Chideme said they are hoping to acquire some chemicals this week, but conceded he was “not sure for how long that will be.”


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