Millions of Harare residents are at risk of waterborne diseases, facing a similar crisis to the in 2008 when thousands of people died, says a report launched this week by Human Rights Watch.
The 60-page report entitled Troubled water: Burst Pipes, Contaminated Wells, and Open Defecation in Zimbabwe’s Capital, describes how residents have little access to potable water and sanitation services, and often resort to drinking water from shallow, unprotected wells that are contaminated with sewage, and to defecating outdoors. These conditions violate their right to water, sanitation and health.
The report is based on research conducted in 2012 and 2013 in Harare, including 80 interviews with residents, mostly women, in eight high-density suburbs.
Speaking at the launch Tiseke Kasambala, Southern Africa director of HRW said local authorities and the government of Zimbabwe should take responsibility for ensuring that rights are protected and that officials be held accountable.
Harare residents associations, the Combined Harare Resident Association (CHRA) and Harare Residents Trust said that the report has affirmed the need for action.
“We need to engage the relevant authorities, even if it calls for people to demonstrate about the water crisis in Harare,” said Simbarashe Moyo of CHRA.