TROUBLE seems to be stalking thousands of Tokwe-Mukosi Dam flood victims after a hailstorm that pounded most parts of Masvingo province yesterday morning blew away their tents leaving them exposed.
At least more than 30 tonnes of donated foodstuffs was destroyed by the rains. This was the second time in a month that their tents were destroyed by another flood accompanied by strong winds leaving them in the open.
This is likely to leave the families on the brink of starvation if no food aid is provided by relief organisations.
When Southern Eye visited Chingwizi holding camp yesterday, families were still trying to dry the little property and clothes they managed to salvage when they were evacuated from the dam flood basin while others were repitching their tents.
“We did not sleep as we were soaked by the rain. We had nowhere to hide. Our tents were destroyed and the little food we had was also destroyed,” said Boas Mbanje originally from Village 7B in Gunikuni.
“The few belongings we have are wet. It is like we are cursed,” Mbanje said.
There are growing fears of disease outbreaks as the floods also swept away the temporary toilets.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti said about 123 tonnes of mealie-meal and other foodstuffs were needed to avert starvation in the overcrowded camp to feed the more than 3 000 families next month.
“We are still counting our losses. We are yet to establish the exact figure of destroyed foodstuffs. We are appealing for urgent donations of 123 tonnes which is the monthly allocation for feeding the families,” said Bhasikiti.
The government committed to feed the families for a year since they are not self-sufficient. Bhasikiti said they have to decongest the holding camp to avert disease outbreaks.
“We cannot continue keeping them here like this for fear of diseases. While there are no casualties so far, we fear the rains may lead to an outbreak of diseases,” he said.
He said the families would be moved to plots pegged by the government, even though they would remain sheltered in tents as some were not compensated.