The Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child care has declared the ongoing cholera outbreak in the capital Harare a state of national emergency as the death toll rose to 20.

Zimbabwe map/CIA

Over 2,300 suspected cases have been reported in Harare since the outbreak was confirmed on September 1. The number of infected is expected to rise countrywide following the confirmation of several new cases and at least one death in four other provinces outside the capital.

Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said all the new cases reported in Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces have been traced back to the outbreak in Harare.

“We are declaring a cholera emergency for Harare. This will enable us to contain cholera and typhoid in the city as quickly as possible. We do not want further deaths, and if we do not create this disaster emergency situation, we will continue losing lives,” he said.

Dr Moyo blamed the Harare City Council for triggering the cholera outbreak by neglecting burst sewerage reticulation pipes over the past two months, leading to faecal contamination of underground water sources.