CHINGWIZI transit camp in Masvingo must be decongested as a matter of urgency to avoid an outbreak of diseases, the Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa has said.
Parirenyatwa told journalists after visiting the camp that is holding about 20 000 people that the environment was not conducive for human habitation.
“It must be decongested as a matter of urgency,” he said.
“The conditions are not conducive. There is a lot of water being supplied, food, but you do not want people to stay under such conditions for long.”
He added: “There are about 1 800 families. It is about 18 000 to 20 000 people staying in one camp and they are not working, not ploughing, they are just sitting, it is unhealthy.
“They should be decongested from a health point of view.”
His warning comes at a time when typhoid, diarrhoea, malaria and dysentery have claimed several lives across the country since the beginning of this year.
The flood victims do not have enough running water, toilets, food or shelter.
Typhoid has killed three people, diarrhoea 207 while dysentery had claimed 35 lives since January this year.
Parirenyatwa said his ministry had been putting measures to ensure the safety of the people to avoid any possible outbreaks at the camp.
“We have covered malaria, we are going to build a second clinic and we will supplement the children’s diet,” he added.
“We are also going to introduce an immunisation programme, probably mass immunisation where for example all children under the age of five will be immunised.”
Parirenyatwa said there were various pledges from people who said they would assist with the building of toilets and providing sanitary products.
“We looked at sanitation, and we have people who are going to assist us,” he said.
He said the National Aids Council was going to build another toilet and an incinerator, “but we do not want to give the idea of permanence such that people will think that they are there to stay, but because it is a human settlement, no matter how temporary, we look at it from a health perspective”.
He said the Health ministry was on top of the situation.
The flood victims are resisting relocation to one-hectare pieces near the holding camp demanding compensation first before moving to the new site.