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Drought escalated cholera outbreak: Report

This was revealed in the latest International Organisation of Migration (IOM) Zimbabwe — Flow Monitoring Report.

THE El Niño-induced drought has been blamed for escalating the cholera outbreak that has hit Zimbabwe’s 62 districts as countrywide water shortages worsen.

This was revealed in the latest International Organisation of Migration (IOM) Zimbabwe — Flow Monitoring Report.

“The drought has also reduced people’s access to clean water, causing cholera outbreaks,” partly read the report.

Health reports state that as of April 26, 2024, 33 004 cholera cases and 703 deaths were reported, with a cumulative case fatality rate of 2,1%.

The IOM report noted that while provinces continue to report declining numbers of cholera cases, Mashonaland Central province remains a concern given that it is recording the highest number of daily cholera cases compared to other provinces, while also having the highest number of active districts.

IOM said risk factors included high mobility of the province’s population with a risk of cross-border transmission in the border districts of Centenary, Mt Darwin and Mbire.

The report further stated that the drought was forcing desperate farmers to sell off their livestock to abattoirs, butcheries and middlemen at discounted prices.

Meanwhile, Madabe village head in Plumtree, Matabeleland South province, Joseph Nleya said some communal farmers in the district who used to sell their cattle at R9 000 or more depending on animal size, were now selling them at around R3 000.

Some farmers in the province are also reportedly selling their beasts for as low as R2 500 in areas where they are wasting away due to poor pasture and lack of water.

“People sell their livestock to buy food and also to remain with manageable herds. We have no pastures for livestock due to poor rains this time,” Nlela told Southern Eye recently.

Nlela’s area has no dam and the nearest source of water is in Dukwe village. Madabe villagers, through assistance from non-governmental organisation, Caritas, have, however, been building their own dam named Korikobo which they hope to complete soon.

“The dam is meant to serve Madabe village and surrounding villages such as Mapholisa and Dukwe. So, we currently have water challenges,” Nleya said.

The IOM report states that because livestock is a vital source of income for rural households in Zimbabwe, farmers were losing precious revenue by selling the their animals at give-away prices because of fear of totally losing them due to drought.

“The mass destocking, while necessary for short-term survival, might have long-term consequences for rural livelihoods,” further read the report.

The USAid Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FewsNet) recently revealed that approximately 9 000 cattle in Zimbabwe had succumbed to drought-related conditions this year.

The report also states that over 1,4 million cattle are currently at high risk due to scarcity of pasture and water. FewsNet issued a warning that the limited availability of pasture during the dry season is likely to result in higher-than-normal livestock deaths.

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