BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
MOST rural communities in Masvingo province, particularly villagers close to Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, are facing a major food crisis due to torrential rains which damaged their crops.
According to the World Food Programme, 3,4 million people in the country are in need of urgent food aid.
“We did not harvest anything because the rains destroyed the crops. There was a lot of rain and the crops failed totally. We also had our houses destroyed by Cyclone Eloise in January,” Sinanzeni Maringire, from Maringire village in Chivi district’s ward 22, told NewsDay.
Maringire said most families in the area had nothing to eat and were relying on food handouts.
Odsen Moyo, village head in Rarangwe under Chief Nyajena, said most families under his jurisdiction were compelled to leave their homes close to Tugwi-Mukosi Dam after the water body burst its banks.
“For the first time since its construction, the dam overflowed. This impacted negatively on us as we were forced to leave our homes to live in the mountains. The situation was dire. Our crops and homes became waterlogged and we had no choice, but to leave and stay on higher ground,” he said.
Moyo said his subjects, among other communities in Masvingo Rural and Chivi districts, last week received food and non-food aid from the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS).
The donation was made possible through the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
“When we heard about the disaster caused by Cyclone Eloise and the heavy rains in the areas around Tugwi-Mukosi, we sent our teams to assess. Fortunately, they had some emergency items and assisted the communities, particularly those most affected and living close to the dam,” said ZRCS secretary-general Elias Hwenga.
“After the disaster, we came and helped the evacuated families with tarpaulins to build temporary shelter, buckets of water, aqua tablets, and personal protective equipment. We also offered first aid and psychosocial support.”
Chivi district development co-ordinator Innocent Matingwina said the heavy rains caused flash floods, which affected communities in wards 22, 27 and 28.
Matingwina said there was need to capacitate communities on disaster risk management and strategies to minimise the impact of cyclones.