Health hazard at HIT due to water shortages

Phillipa Jaja

A health hazard looms at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) due to erratic water supplies at the higher learning institution.

Several students took to twitter to voice their frustration over the indifferent attitude by the authorities in addressing the issue.

The students have petitioned   twitter influencer, Alistair Nyamarai Chibanda, to raise awareness on the water and sanitation situation prevailing at the institution.

 ‘Hallo, how are you please help me raise awareness because paHit things are not okay, we have been spending more than weeks now without water, mvura inouya 2 minutes yoenda. The toilets are now a mess for my hostel we use 1 toilet seat, more than 20 students.”

The student railed against the institution’s accommodation fees which she said were exorbitant compared to the current state of the toilets.

“…And these are the accommodation fees Hostel 1 ensuite US$ 490/ZWL 441 000. Hostel 2, 3, 4 (communal) US$390/ ZWL351 000…my question is, why is it so expensive yet the toilets are like this?

Fellow students concurred with their colleague saying petitions to have the issue addressed had hit a brick wall.

“I go to Harare Institute of Technology. We’ve always been talking about this, the public toilets are a mess across campus. There’s also the issue of electricity the whole university doesn’t have backup power when there’s no ZESA there’s no electricity, sometimes the whole day… At one point I had to ask the SRC representatives why the school isn’t sorting the electricity problem, the answer was that “a particular lecturer is working on making solar panels for the school”. Don’t know how true that is,” said Ashley Mudzingwa.

Another twitter user who goes by the name Dwayneblues weighed in saying

“This is unfortunate but not surprising. Madiro avanoita mari paHit they will force you to defer chero washoterwa ne $50.How then does this situation come up? They can’t fix the ablution facilities? How much does it cost to revamp H2? A couple thousand bucks.”

For the past two decades, Harare has been experiencing water shortages. Outbreaks started in 2008 when more than 400 people died from diarrheal diseases.

Human Rights Watch found that the city’s perennial water crisis, which is linked to the cholera outbreak, is the result of the city’s obsolete water infrastructure, a ballooning population, severe droughts, and pervasive government corruption and mismanagement. Poor governance and disputes between the central government and the Harare City Council have hindered efforts to address the problems.

The infrastructure for piped water in Harare was developed in the 1950s, before Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, and designed for a population of 300,000 people. Currently, Harare’s greater metropolitan area has about 4.5 million people, more than half of whom have no access to clean water and are at risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

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