by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – HUMANITARIAN organisations are wary of Zimbabwe’s fatal cholera crisis spreading to neighbouring countries.
Mozambique and Zambia, who have experienced similar outbreaks to Zimbabwe’s in recent years, are seen as nearby countries at most risk of the ongoing crisis.
Botswana and South Africa also share borders with Zimbabwe.
“There is a high possibility of cross border spread with Zambia, given the road traffic between Harare and Lusaka, as well as with Mozambique, which borders Manicaland,” warned a spokesperson of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Harare, the capital city, is the epicentre of the water borne disease that has killed more than 30 people as of this week.
The outbreak reported at the beginning of September has spread outside Harare, affecting five other provinces, namely Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Masvingo and Midlands.
Zimbabwe’s urban areas have suffered recurrent cholera outbreaks in recent years.
The main risk factors include contaminated water sources such as boreholes and wells, as a result of blocked and damaged sewer pipes.
More than 4 000 people were killed in 2008, in what has been the worst outbreak of cholera to date in Zimbabwe.
Authorities in neighbouring South Africa were this week quoted as saying they were on high alert following the latest outbreak.
The border between the two countries is the busiest south of the Sahara.
– CAJ News