Harare city council has struggled to supply water to some suburbs for more than a decade, forcing residents to rely on water from open wells and community boreholes. A cholera emergency has been declared in Zimbabwe’s capital. The provinces of Masvingo and Manicaland, south and east of the capital, have a large numbers of cases.Health minister Obadiah Moyo said the government had suspended classes at schools in some suburbs of Harare.
The health minister said the selling of meat and fish by vendors in the affected suburbs had been banned. Cholera is a bacterial disease spread by fecal matter coming into contact with drinking water or food. It causes extreme diarrhea that can lead to fatal dehydration, but when it is treated with fluids and antibiotics, the death rate is very low. Small outbreaks of cholera are fairly common in Zimbabwe. In some cities, officials have said they cannot afford to treat drinking water with decontaminating chemicals. In late August, an outbreak in the city of Gweru spread to other towns and killed three people. The country had a serious outbreak in 2008 and 2009 that the World Health Organization said sickened more than 98,000 people and killed more than 4,200.