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Zimbabwe Declares State of Emergency as Cholera Outbreak Escalates

In response to a surging cholera outbreak in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency. 

The deadly epidemic has claimed dozens of lives, with over 7,000 suspected cases reported so far.

Mayor Ian Makone confirmed the declaration, citing the severity of the cholera situation. 

The outbreak, spreading rapidly throughout the city, evokes haunting memories of the devastating 2008 epidemic, which resulted in thousands of fatalities.

“We have declared a state of emergency because of cholera,” Mayor Makone stated, emphasizing the urgency of the situation.

Zimbabwe’s health authorities are now seeking international assistance to contain the spread and provide safe water, deeming the current aid insufficient. 

The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) reports that health authorities are struggling to manage the high number of admissions due to a shortage of health workers and supplies to halt transmission.

The epicenter of the outbreak is the high-density suburb of Kuwadzana in Harare, accounting for nearly half of the reported cases.

Cholera, an acute diarrheal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, has been exacerbated by chronic water shortages in Zimbabwe. 

The authorities are urgently addressing the crisis as they grapple with a lack of access to clean water.

The mayor drew parallels between the current outbreak and the 2008 epidemic, which resulted in over 4,000 deaths and a significant national crisis. 

The severity of the situation led to a historic power-sharing deal between then-President Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai.

As of Tuesday, the Ministry of Health reported 7,398 suspected cases, 50 confirmed deaths, and 109 people hospitalized. 

The IFRC warns that the disease is rapidly spreading across multiple geographical areas, affecting 45 out of 62 districts and all 10 provinces in the country. 

The outbreak raises concerns about the potential for it to cross borders.

Neighboring countries, including Malawi, South Africa, and Mozambique, have experienced cholera outbreaks in the past. 

The Ministry of Health has implemented measures to address the current outbreak, including the removal of street food vendors and the transportation of safe water.

The international community closely monitors the situation as Zimbabwe grapples with the resurgence of a deadly cholera crisis.

This story has been adopted from the BBC.

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