The Sunday Mail
IT is that time of the year when Harare residents are subjected to flash floods, which pose serious health risks to long-suffering residents who are still smarting from the effects of recent devastating cholera and typhoid outbreaks.
Signs of flash floods are already apparent: blocked drainage systems, including inaccessible and dangerous roads.
Clogged drains often collect pools of stagnant water that spawn water-borne diseases.
City of Harare has been slow in attending to the blocked drains.
Although Mbare and the central business district (CBD) are affected the most, other high-density suburbs such as Highfield, Budiriro, Kambuzuma and Warren Park are not spared.
Residents now fear the spectre of further disease outbreaks.
Children are the most vulnerable.
“We are fearing for our children who like playing in water. Besides typhoid, there might be an outbreak of cholera and malaria since these pools are a breeding place for mosquitos,” said Misheck Mawire, a Mbare resident.
Residents, environmental and health experts are agreed that Harare City Council has to act.
Town planning experts believe that the local authority needs to evaluate, re-plan and upgrade the local drainage system.
Dr Alisto Mvere, a rural and urban planner, said there is need to determine the main cause of recurring flash floods within cities.
“The existing drainage system is not built according to proper specifications, which makes it difficult for water to properly drain.
“What makes it worse is that there seems to be irregularities in the drainage system, as we found that some places do not have drains,” said the former lecturer.
Dr Ephraim Chiminike, a health consultant, urged authorities to move fast and avoid a potential disease outbreak.
“The situation needs urgent attention. The residents are at risk of such communicable diseases such as typhoid, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis. We also have vector diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever,”said Dr Chiminike.
HCC spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said last week council is aware of the problem.
“As we speak, work is in progress to make sure that the affected areas are attended to. Issues to do with flooding are associated with the rainy season,” Mr Chideme said.
He called upon residents to be responsible when disposing litter.