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Zimbabwe: Sanitation

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of levels of sanitation in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. (260273)

A recent household survey conducted by UNICEF in Zimbabwe showed that 40 per cent. of households across rural areas had access to a functional toilet. A large number therefore have poor levels of sanitation that increases exposure to diseases such as cholera. In urban areas, where most people rely on piped municipal water and piped sewerage, a breakdown in infrastructure and a lack of chemicals places increasingly large numbers of households at risk.

On 26 November 2008 the UK Government announced a £10 million package of support to provide life-saving assistance and respond to the escalation of cholera in Zimbabwe. We are working closely with UNICEF and the World Health Organisation to tackle the crisis. Our support includes: help to establish a cholera command and control centre (to coordinate the response); distribution of cholera response kits; provision of potable water in affected areas; and essential medicines and other vital support to health systems.