By Nyaradzo Bakari
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has bemoaned the poor state of Bulawayo’s water and has pledged to engage National University of Science and technology and private laboratories to independently test the contaminated water .
This follows reports that Luveve residents are facing diarrhoea, with five having died from allegedly drinking the contaminated water.
BPRA Communications Officer, Kelebone Khabo, said the association was very worried about the Bulawayo water crisis that has been constantly neglected by the authorities.
In April, BPRA’s efforts to seek the central government’s help by declaring Bulawayo water crisis a national disaster were effortless as the private consultant hired by the government to survey the water crisis concluded that there was no water crisis in Bulawayo.
“It is, however, disappointing that the private consultant reached a conclusion that that there was no crisis in Bulawayo without visiting residences to see how the people of Bulawayo are now living in order to come up with a solid report,” he said in a statement .
Khabo said the residents association cited the potential of sanitary related water diseases as the cause of the deaths in Luveve.
He said: “On Sunday 14 June 2020we visited more than 15 households in Luveve including the households that have recently lost their loved ones as reported in the newspapers. Residents are bedridden and are complaining of severe stomach pains and vomiting and they are adamant that the cause may be the contaminated water they have been receiving from local authority.”
According to BPRA children aged between zero and 16 years are mostly affected. The association will engage private laboratories and the National University of Science and Technology to run tests on the water.
BPRA urged the government and the Bulawayo City Council to take immediate action in tracing the source of contamination of water.
“We implore government and BCC to urgently trace the source of contamination. We demand answers and immediate action to prevent further tragedy. BCC should also ensure that all those who have fallen sick access urgent medical care for free. BCC and the Ministry of Water should gently work together to address water supply contamination.”
On Friday, the local authority, in a statement, said the alleged illnesses and death where caused by drinking water from unclean containers, urging residents to thoroughly wash the containers before filling water.
BPRA, however, said the city council should not use the containers as scapegoat and take responsibility.
“After attending to these several reports and witnessing the contaminated water, it is distasteful for local authority to release a statement that places the fault on the residents’ containers citing them as the reason why they are falling sick and suffering from diarrhoea. It is the wrong time to be politicking when people’s lives are being lost and there is empirical evidence of contaminated water flowing from the tapes. BCC should come up with a long term solution. If BCC does not act on the above, BPRA shall be forced to take legal action against council,” said Khabo.