Zimbabwe has declared a cholera outbreak in the capital Harare after twenty people died from the disease and more than 2,000 others infected.
The infections had been as a result of people drinking contaminated water, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo said on Tuesday.
Harare city council has struggled to supply water to some suburbs for more than a decade, forcing residents to rely on water from open wells and community boreholes.
The latest cholera outbreak came after burst sewers in Budiriro and Glenview suburbs contaminated water in boreholes and open wells, which are used by residents, Mr. Moyo said.
Flanked by Harare’s new mayor and other health officials, Mr. Moyo said declaring the emergency “will enable (the government) to contain cholera, typhoid and whatever is going on.”
Reuters also quoted the health minister as saying that the selling of meat and fish by vendors in the affected suburbs had been banned. He said the police had been asked to enforce the ban.
Meanwhile, the government has suspended classes at some schools in two suburbs at the epicenter of the outbreak and has also asked for help from UN agencies and private companies to supply portable water.
Zimbabwe suffered its biggest cholera outbreak in 2008 at the height of an economic crisis. More than 4,000 people died and another 40,000 were treated after being infected.