Rural communities in dilemma: CSO

Source: Rural communities in dilemma: CSO | Newsday (News)

Christian-based civic society organisation, Habakkuk Trust, has noted that rural communities are finding it difficult to adhere to lockdown measures as some of their chores require extensive movement.

BY SILAS NKALA

Government on March 30 enforced a national lockdown which should end on May 3 in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The lockdown restricts citizens’ movement to a 5km radius if they are not in essential services and are in need of basic commodities.

“However, the applicability of some of the lockdown measures has proved to be difficult in a rural setup. A majority of rural households do not have water or electricity and community members walk distances to access water from the nearby water points and fetch firewood away from their homes,” Habakkuk Trust said.

“Some citizens walk distances of more than 5km to access water from boreholes or wells. Some also walk long distances to the nearest shops or health facilities. Other tasks such as herding cattle to grazing pastures which the citizens are burdened with cannot be done within the homestead.”

The trust said the climate-induced drought had also contributed to the challenges faced by rural communities, indicating that in Matobo’s ward 9, some villagers reportedly walk from St Anne to Nyongolo to access water.

In Nkayi’s ward 22, villagers from Hompane walk over 5km to the nearest water point.

“In Tsholotsho’s ward 9, most community members have resorted to fetching water from open water sources as there are a few boreholes. Therefore, it is evident that rural households cannot be confined to their homesteads or spend the whole day indoors under this lockdown as most of their basic services are accessed outside their homes and even beyond the 5km radius for some,” the Trust said.

“The recent COVID-19 death from Mhondoro district, a rural area in Mashonaland West province, poses far-reaching impacts in combating the community spread of COVID-19 in rural Zimbabwe.”

Habakkuk Trust urged rural communities to practise social distancing even as they carry out their daily chores and practise good hygiene.

Recently, villagers in Hurungwe revealed that they had not changed their daily routines despite the national lockdown after police were deployed to enforce the order in the district.

Zimbabwe country has recorded four coronavirus deaths from 28 cases.

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