OPEN defecation is posing a serious health hazard at Arnold Farm in Mazowe where more than 150 families are living in the open following the demolition of their dwellings by the police to pave way for wild animals, two weeks ago.
The displaced villagers told NewZimbabwe.com that the police also destroyed their toilets in the process leaving them with no option but to relieve themselves in the open.
They said human waste was now contaminating the nearby river and open wells they use for domestic purposes.
“We have nowhere to go and relieve ourselves because our maize crop has not yet grown to the size of giving us a cover when defecating. So what we are doing is to dig holes in the nearby and help ourselves because there is no alternative,” said an elderly woman.
“Some of us are using plastic bags which we will then dump in the bush and this is not good for our health because flies prey on the waste and contaminate the food we eat,” a teenager identified as Tonderai said.
Another victim, Mai Manyara said:
“We are appealing to government and other organizations to provide us with mobile toilets and water treatment products, while waiting for relocations because the situation here is unbearable. You can find human waste everywhere and anywhere”.
“They destroyed our toilets and we are finding it difficult to relieve ourselves. The problem is worse for our children because us we can wait until its dark and go into the bush for relief,” added another villager.
Local Member of Parliament Fortune Chasi said something needed to be done for the displaced people.
“I have never been there ever since these evictions happened but I can imagine how the people are living. Look it is raining and many epidemics come with it,” he said, “I really do not know the situation at the moment but it is true that they are exposed to diseases if they are still in the open.”
Presenting achievements made by Zimbabwe, recently, in meeting the Millennium Development Goal targets on Health UNICEF Chief of communications Victor Chinyama said open defecation was a major challenge in the country.
“We are very much concerned by this area where our target for 2015 was to reduce it by10 percent but the mix shows that we are at 32%. So there are quite some miles to go with that indicator”.