NGOMAHURU Mental Hospital in Masvingo West has gone for nearly two months without running water, forcing patients at the institution to use the nearby Magwangwadza River for bathing.
The crisis has forced the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to file an urgent chamber application at the High Court in Masvingo on Wednesday to compel Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga who is also Health and Child Care minister, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) to urgently restore water supplies at Ngomahuru.
The application, filed by Masvingo lawyer Martin Mureri on behalf of Masvingo West legislator Tichaona Mharadze, will be heard before Justice Sunsley Zisengwe on Monday.
Mureri told The NewsHawks that he approached the court after the elapse of the 24-hour ultimatum which he gave the authorities earlier this week.
“I can confirm that I filed papers before the High Court on Wednesday seeking an order which will compel the three respondents to restore water at Ngomahuru urgently. What is happening is a violation of human rights. If the crisis is not addressed, the situation will be out of hand,” said Mureri.
According to papers filed by Mureri, Ngomahuru, which has 200 mental patients, has not had running water for the past one-and-a-half months because of an electric fault that has resulted in Zinwa failing to pump water.
The absence of water is forcing officials at the hospital to take mental patients to Magwangwadza River for bathing in one large group where they bath in full view of each other.
“This is not only inhuman, but is putting the patients at numerous risks including drowning and getting attacked by crocodiles. The patients are being taken to the river, both male and female at the same time to bath,” reads part of the application.
The hospital`s medical superintendent, Dr Parerenyatwa Maramba, told The NewsHawks that the hospital is supplied water by Zinwa but the pump is not working after an electric fault on a Zesa line.
He said the two state agencies are giving them assurances that the fault will be rectified, but the situation at the institution is now unbearable.
“We get our water from Zinwa, but their pump is not working since there is a fault on the part of Zesa. They are promising that things will be back to normal and in the meantime we are using water from the nearby river for bathing, which is not safe, considering that our patients need serious attention,” said Dr Maramba.