The thick stench of human waste pervades the block of eight unfinished flats in one of Harare’s high density suburbs. The complex is dotted with human faeces - some of it parcelled in plastic bags, some not.
Hordes of people, mainly youths, squatted in the yet-to-be-completed national housing ministry flats in Dzivaresekwa Extension Phase 1, more than four years ago, before the installation of water and sanitation systems.
The stench is compounded by mounds of uncollected and decaying rubbish. Small boys and girls squat behind the flats answering the call of nature, as the elderly seek relief and privacy from behind the cover of dwarf bushes.
"We have no choice here, and our situation has been like this for years now. We use bush toilets to relieve ourselves during the day as we have no toilets," said Bothwell Jari, one of the residents.
"At night, we can't move into the bush, and most of us opt to use plastic bags to relieve ourselves, which we just throw out through the windows," said Marian Mangirazi, a single mother at the flats.
A cholera epidemic in August 2008, which lasted for a year before it was officially declared over, killed more than 4,000 people and infected nearly 100,000 others. Dzivaresekwa was also affected by the epidemic.
In the last few months, thousands of cases of the waterborne disease typhoid were reported in the country. Typhoid is often a precursor to cholera. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) says typhoid usually occurs where water supplies are contaminated by faecal matter.
With no access to potable water, the residents either collect water from shallow unprotected wells after the rains or ask for it from residents of the neighbouring Dzivaresekwa township.
Miriam Vurayai, in her mid-70s, told IRIN, "We often have to beg for water from residents in DZ Extension main, who are now apparently tired with us, with most of them demanding that we should now share payment of water bills.
"I'm old, as you can see, and I have orphaned grandchildren to look after in these dirty conditions you have witnessed," she said.