Harare, Sep 17 (IANS) Zimbabwe’s ongoing cholera outbreak has killed 30 people and has spread to the country’s second-largest city Bulawayo, according to figures given by Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.
Moyo said two people died over the weekend and that control measures were in place while water and medical supplies were being brought to affected areas, Efe news reported.
Over 5,400 cases of cholera have been reported since the outbreak was first detected on September 6 in the suburbs of the capital.
Zimbabwe’s fourth cholera outbreak in the last 15 years was caused when community water wells in the capital were contaminated with raw sewage from a leaking sewer pipe, according to officials from Harare’s municipal council.
On September 11, the Zimbabwean government declared a health emergency in the capital after 20 people died and 2,000 became infected.
The human rights organization Amnesty International’s Executive Director in Zimbabwe, Jessica Pwiti, blamed the government for the most recent cholera crisis.
“The current cholera epidemic is a terrible consequence of Zimbabwe’s failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system,” Pwiti said in a statement.
The UN World Health Organization, which has sent experts and epidemiologists to Zimbabwe to organize a vaccination campaign, describes cholera as “an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae”.
The current crisis is the deadliest since Zimbabwe’s worst cholera outbreak from 2008 to 2009, when over 4,000 people died and 90,000 people were infected.