Civilization in Reverse

By Ranjit

The failure of the water system in Harare, Zimbabwe has led to an epidemic of cholera. Last Monday the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) ran out of chemicals it needed for water purification. In addition sewage treatment systems have failed exacerbating the spread of the epidemic:

In the townships, the water turns in a deadly cycle. Months without it mean that toilets are blocked, leading to people defaecating in the open, everywhere, at night. At the same time, the pressure of the trapped sewage is enough to flip open cast-iron manhole covers and spew the contents through the streets, into people’s yards. The stench of faeces is all-pervasive.

More than 500 have died so far and, according to Oxfam, up to 60,000 could be infected by March in a country that not too long ago could provide clean water to even the poorest.