The ongoing water crisis in Bulawayo has adversely affected women as hundreds of Luveve residents are grappling with deadly water-borne diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea which have claimed the lives of people. What is even more worrying is the disproportionate effect this crisis has on women and girls who are not only losing their loved ones, but also suffer psychological, financial, and emotional distress resulting from the worst water crisis ever to hit the city.
In an interview held by a WILD correspondent, one of the affected women, Ms Irene Dube, reinforced that the brunt of poor service delivery and dereliction of duty in water provision is borne by women.
“When children are in hospital, it is never easy for a woman who is often the care-giver.”
“Widows, unemployed women, and single mothers are the worst affected as their pain and trauma is never being attended to by anyone,” she said.
It is also alleged that some women in Luveve have even suffered miscarriages as a result of the contaminated water.
“Through the rumour mill, a woman is said to have suffered a miscarriage after consuming the contaminated water,” added Ms Soneni Hlabangane, a resident from Luveve.
A number of affected residents are failing to access medical care as they are financially incapacitated to do so. Ms Hlabangane went on to give a testimony on her personal experience with the contaminated water.
“I have suffered severely after consuming water coming from my tap. I have looked for assistance in all means possible from get medical help, but it has not been cheap as the prices are beyond my reach although my stomach aches seem not to subside.”
“People are failing to pay the fees that are required when seeking medical treatment, starting from the ambulance fee, hospital fee, and the medication that one would have been prescribed. The burden has worsened as borders are closed, as people have relied on financial assistance from neighbouring countries, especially when it comes to accessing or buying medication,” said Ms Hlabangane.
Ms Hlabangane further mentioned that residents have opted for alternative water sources than drink water coming from the taps, as a precautionary measure from further infections.
“I am now forced to buy bottled water from the nearest supermarket and a case of 24 bottles now costs US$3,” she added. “It is for our own sake that we end up opting for bottled water although it is not possible to afford to buy for daily consumption.”
Meanwhile, a well-wisher has since distributed 20 litre buckets that will be used for hand washing after using the toilet so as to minimize the spread of typhoid in Luveve suburb.
The water crisis in Luveve surburb is a national crisis deserving urgent interventions that investigate the causes leading to the tragedy and find quick and sustained solution by both government of Zimbabwe and City of Bulawayo authorities.
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