ZIMBABWE—Zimbabwe has  launched an emergency clean-up campaign, Operation Chenesa Harare, to clean up mountains of waste in Harare and improve water supplies by a third.

This  operation has been  launched in response to an increase in the number of cholera cases, with Harare now serving as the country’s epicentre.

During the exercise, trucks and earthmoving equipment were brought into Harare to clear large heaps of uncollected rubbish.

Furthermore, emergency finance has been obtained to purchase chemicals for the city’s still-inadequate water treatment plants, guaranteeing that at least the basic water supply essential for health is accessible.

However, as the fleet went about the city, far more garbage than predicted has been discovered thrown on open spaces and roadside, particularly in southern Harare and especially in and around Mbare.

This has necessitated the exercise to be prolonged for a week in Harare and is being rolled out throughout the country.

The inefficiency  of some local administrations, mainly metropolitan ones, in garbage collection have resulted in the proliferation of illegal dumpsites, exposing inhabitants to health concerns and causing the government to step in.

Mr. Nathan Nkomo, the chief director of the Department of Civil Protection, stated yesterday that Operation Chenesa Harare is proceeding successfully and is in region 3, which encompasses the southern suburbs of Harare and is the largest region.

He pushed for prioritizing Region 1 and Region 3, but for Mbare, he stated that they had overestimated the quantities and are extending the blitz by one week to ensure that the operation is carried out efficiently.

While municipalities have a clear responsibility to clear waste and the legal independence to do so, Mr. Nkomo recently stated that the central government may step in during an emergency.

The Civil Protection Act requires the DCP to conduct such operations focusing on the environment, particularly Section 2 of environmental contamination and disruption of critical services.

Mr. Nkomo stated that the cholera outbreak prompted the government to act quickly, adding that following the exercise, councils will be allowed to resume their garbage collection tasks.

Winston Chitando, Minister of Local Government and Public Works, stated that Operation Chenesa Harare will be repeated throughout the country.

Chitando stated that the program that is presently being developed in the short and medium term is to ensure that cholera does not reoccur. 

He further stated that the government is dedicated to guaranteeing that Chenesai Harare functions well, that all local authorities are in good order, and that inhabitants receive enough services.

Mrs. Precious Chibhero, a resident of Mbare, praised the government for the exercise while asking councils to collect garbage on a regular basis to avoid a similar issue.

Another resident, Mr. Tinarwo, said they are pleading with the local government to send out rubbish trucks at least once a week to avoid a repeat of the calamity.

Zimbabwe had 10 263 suspected cholera cases, 1 409 confirmed cases (total 11 672 cases), and 230 deaths as of December 3.

The number of weekly new cases registered at the time remained above 1000, and the crude fatality rate was higher than predicted, with a total of 18 deaths recorded.

On November 17, the capital Harare announced a state of emergency, and the European Union has committed EUR 1 million through its Epidemics Tool of the Emergency Toolbox to bolster the country’s response to the current outbreak.

With this funding, Zimbabwe will go toward emergency WASH and health activities in the hardest-hit districts. 

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