THE Welshman Ncube-led MDC has appealed to the government to urgently mobilise supplementary feeding for pupils in drought-stricken Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces, amid fears the food shortages could cause massive school dropouts.
BY SILAS NKALA
Most villagers in the two drought-prone provinces have reportedly run out of food stocks and the situation has been worsened by the erratic rains this season.
MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai made a similar call after visiting Gutu last week and appealed to President Robert Mugabe to cut short his holiday to attend to pressing food shortages back home.
Former Education minister, David Coltart also called on the government to declare the food shortages a national disaster to enable the donor community to provide relief food in the worst-affected provinces. MDC Matabeleland South chairman, Pilate Ndebele said the situation was so dire in most parts of the province that some families were now surviving on wild fruits or one meal a day.
“It would appear as if God has forsaken us, as drought this year is much more serious than in previous years. This year it’s going to be worse than before,” he said.
“As schools are opening soon, it is the duty of the government to provide supplementary feeding to schools to feed children because most families are now surviving on one meal per day due to food shortages.”
Ndebele said with the prevailing level of food shortages and erratic rains, there was high possibility of people dying of hunger in Matabeleland South if the government and donor community did not chip in urgently.
“Government must make food available for schools in the drought-affected provinces so as to prevent deaths,” he said.
“Just imagine a child going to school on an empty stomach, what do you expect from that child? It is not possible for the child to perform well and this will possibly increase the failure rate in our schools.”
During the third term of last year, in Matabeleland South, 2 825 pupils from both primary and secondary schools dropped out of school due to the effects of drought.