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Cyclone Idai victims cry for help

SYDNEY SAIZE IN MUTARE

Victims of Cyclone Idai who are temporarily sheltered at Ngandu holding camp want a permanent solution to their plight nearly two years after the cyclone devastated Chimanimani and Chipinge districts in Manicaland Province.

The victims had their homes destroyed and lost property and livestock during the disaster that left hundreds of dead, missing and other households homeless.

Since the disaster, hundreds of families have been staying at the temporary shelter at Ngangu Growth Point but their tents are now torn and require replacement.

Victims said they want to be moved to permanent bases as promised by the government in 2019.

“It is high time the government takes the move to remove us from here and put us in houses they promised to build for the displaced families,” Cleopas Magwenzi told Business Times.

“The tents are now too old and torn, there is no privacy in the tents and a lot of undesirable things are happening here.”

Another resident at Ngangu holding Camp, Susan Munyoro, said prostitution was now rife as the centre is clogged by families.

“We are crying for relocation to Chayimiti and Bumba as was said by the government.

Why has it taken long to have us moved into the houses they said would be built for us?” questioned Munyoro.

She said most families needed to move on and that could only happen when they are at a permanent base.

“We need to farm, keep livestock and this can only happen when we are at a safe and permanent place. We can’t do that here. Our hearts bleed when we see these rains and cannot grow and have to rely on food hand-outs that should end,” said Munyoro.

A high school student (name withheld) said studying was difficult while holed in a torn tent with other family members.

“It would be prudent if we are moved to the places stated earlier since I feel we have overstayed at this camp.

The student said he had lost several of his school mates owing to early marriages and the prolonged lock down and the insecurity of family values at the congested Ngangu holding camp.

“Everything happens here at Ngangu, young girls are now into prostitution and young boys are taking drugs and other substances which I doubt would be the case if there was a family set up and not camp lifestyle for us.

Manicaland provincial Development Coordinator and Civil Protection Unit chair Edgar Seenza said work on the houses had been stalled owing to the Covid 19 outbreak earlier last year which led to the lockdown.

“Construction of housing units for the affected families was moving on well until the outbreak of Covid 19 and the next thing the lockdown which made work to be halted.

“Remember we have to adhere to the Covid 19 regulations,” Seenza said.

He said work on the houses would resume when the situation improves and when it is safe to do so.

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