LOCAL Government minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday said he never received any correspondence from Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Cain Mathema notifying him of the damage caused by floods in Mapili and Mbamba village in Tsholotsho.
Villagers of Mapili and Mbamba on Wednesday told Southern Eye that government officials had not lived up to their promise to chip in with assistance after they lost their crops and homes that were washed away by the floods.
The government and donor agencies only provided food, shelter and clothing to flood victims in Sipepa and Gariya while neglecting villagers of Mapili and Mbamba area that were equally hard hit.
Chombo told Southern Eye yesterday that his ministry acted on correspondence from provinces saying that where assistance was not rendered, it was because the respective Provincial Affairs minister had not alerted him.
“As a ministry, we act or make interventions after receiving correspondence from the governor (Provincial Affairs minister),” said Chombo.
“They (with the provincial and district administrator) are the ones on the ground that know the kind of assistance required, be it fuel, shelter or food.
“Once they make presentations to us, the ministry intervenes to assist victims. It is not like the ministry did not intervene, no.”
The government, donor agencies, embassies, companies and individuals pooled resources together to assist Masvingo flood victims after the government declared the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam-induced floods a national disaster.
Mathema, who has previously accused journalists of being a nuisance, again refused to comment when contacted yesterday.
“I do not want to speak to you . . . you are troubling me,” Mathema said before switching off his mobile phone.
However, Tsholotsho district administrator Nosizi Dube yesterday rejected accusations that the government had neglected Mapili and Mbamba villagers.
“No one was left out. In fact, I have to tell you that the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) team is still active.
“We are still on the ground assessing the situation and where there is a need for assistance we provide the needed support,” Dube said without specifying what form of assistance the CPU had rendered to the stranded villagers.
She added that her team never came across a house that had collapsed during its visit to Mapili and Mbamba during the floods and said they would be returning to the area “to assess the situation and we will mobilise resources to assist where there is a need”.
Dube said the villagers at Sipepa and Gariya, who were assisted, still remained very vulnerable.