UNICEF declares over 50 % of Zim’s water unsafe

Staff Writer

AT least 60% of water sources in the country are unsafe, leaving most families at risk of diarrhoeal disease outbreaks, UNICEF has said.

In its latest update on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, UNICEF said over 1.9 million people were in urgent need of safe drinking water, sanitation and good hygiene.

“Almost 60 per cent of the water sources in the country do not provide access to safe water, leaving many families to depending on unsafe or contaminated sources, increasing the risk of diarrhoeal disease outbreaks,” it said.

The UN body said the situation in Zimbabwe was set to worsen in 2020.

However, to avert a disaster, UNICEF in collaboration with government, said it was revising its humanitarian response plan to address significant levels of aid requirements.

“The revised humanitarian appeal in mid-2019 suggested that 1.9 million people were in need of safe drinking water, sanitation and good hygiene. With the growing challenges facing Zimbabwe and the late onset of rains to mitigate the poor rains of 2018/19, these figures need to be revised.”

Meanwhile, a recent sector review of cholera, typhoid, and cyclone responses highlighted the importance of expanding rapid response teams that delivered a comprehensive WASH response to cholera and contributed to faster control of the outbreak.

“UNICEF also supported the development of a diarrhoea, typhoid and cholera outbreak emergency preparedness,” UNICEF said.

It said the macroeconomic situation in Zimbabwe had been worsening in the country and the projected inflation rate as of November 2019 was 481 per cent.

“This hyperinflation has exacerbated vulnerabilities especially among children and women as households are struggling to obtain basic foodstuffs and services such as healthcare, water and sanitation and education.

“The health sector has been severely affected and the protracted strike by health workers from September to December had a significant impact on service delivery. The nutritional vulnerabilities of people particularly children and women are being exacerbated by the drought and economic problems in the country,” it said.

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