Hunger tightens grip in Chingwizi
by Regerai Tukutuku
Hunger and starvation have tightened their grip at the Chingwizi holding camp where more than 3,000 people displaced by the floods along the Tokwe Mukosi basin are now living.
It has emerged that the food donations that have been pouring in were damaged due to poor storage facilities at the holding camp, leaving the villagers with nothing to eat.
Despite the serious food shortages at the camp, the villagers have vowed to stay put until government fulfils all its promises to them. Mwenezi district administrator Stanely Chamisa said the situation at the holding camp was deplorable, as food had run out. Chamisa said that about 30 tonnes of donated food was damaged by damp and wasn’t fit for people to eat. “We are now managing the food rations because the food we have cannot sustain the villagers any longer,” he said.
In an effort to ease the hunger problem, the government is planning to hurriedly remove the villagers by allocating them a hectare of land. However, this has not gone down well with the flood victims who have vowed to stay until they are given four hectares of land as initially agreed.
“We are not going to leave this camp until we are given compensation and the promised four hectares of land,” said Bright Mutumbe. “The government promised us four hectares of land in addition to compensation, and we are prepared to die here if all our concerns are not addressed.”
Masvingo provincial administrator Felix Chikovo confirmed the impasse between the villagers and the government.
“We will keep on persuading them to leave,” said Chikovo. Government sources said that a high-powered ministerial delegation had visited Chingwizi this week to try to convince the villagers to leave.
It has also emerged that the government has no money to pay the villagers in compensation. At least $21mis required to pay compensation to the flood victims.
Heavy rains pounded Masvingo province this year, resulting in thousands of villagers living along the Tokwe Mukosi basin being affected by floods.