Karoi Town Council has embarked on a fast-track borehole rehabilitation exercise as it prepares for the possibility of a cholera outbreak.
By Nhau Mangirazi
Neighbouring Zambia is grappling with a cholera outbreak that has so far claimed around 70 lives in more than three months.
Fears of an outbreak in Karoi have been compounded by a water crisis that has seen taps running dry for several weeks since late last year.
Karoi is a transit town for Zimbabwe-Zambia cross-border traders and truckers.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care has put Chirundu border post on high alert following the cholera outbreak in the neighbouring country.
Provincial health officer George Kambondo recently said health officers had embarked on cholera awareness campaigns.
Karoi Town Council clerk Wellington Mutikani confirmed at the weekend that they were rehabilitating boreholes in Chikangwe high-density suburb following an outcry over water shortages caused by vandalism of Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) equipment at Karoi Dam, while Brockley Dam was affected by incessant power cuts.
“We have started repairing boreholes since our residents have gone without water for too long. We have to solve water shortages affecting residents as Zinwa is facing challenges. The perennial shortages of yesteryear are hard for us all to ignore. We believe we must play our role as a local authority,” he said.
The boreholes, funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund following a cholera outbreak in 2008, broke down in August last year.
Only one borehole in ward 6 is operational, Mutikani said.
“We are making these strides following a cholera outbreak in Zambia that may affect us as most of cross-border traders pass through the town,” he said.
“Generally, most of them are local residents. While the majority of these boreholes need expertise from the District Development Fund, we made arrangements so that they help us repair all boreholes this coming week.”
Ward 6 residents said the repaired borehole had brought them relief.
“We are grateful that council repaired the borehole as water supply is erratic and we fear an outbreak of waterborne diseases,” a resident,Mai Machimo, said.
Another resident, Crispen Tapera, said the borehole water is muddy.
“We have seen that the borehole is working although the water is muddy because it has not been working for some time,” he said.
The Karoi Residents’ Trust said: “We applaud council’s move to rehabilitate the boreholes as it will assist residents who want better service delivery from suppliers. Water is a basic human right and council’s intervention will go a long way in listening to residents’ concerns.”
However, water supplies have been restored in some parts of the town.