via Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims defy Chombo 13/04/2014 NewZimbabwe
MORE than 3,000 victims of the February Tokwe-Mukosi flood disaster have vowed to remain in the Chingwizi holding camp where they were temporarily accommodated after the disaster if government does not give them a $9 million total in terms of compensation.
Angry villagers told a visiting ministerial committee led by local government minister, Ignatius Chombo that if nothing comes by in terms of the demanded government compensation, they will prolong their stay in their overcrowded tent accommodation where they are receiving food handouts from humanitarian organisations.
Government has since begun the process of relocating the poor villagers from the holding camps to permanent places.
Most families were plunged into complete poverty after floods, caused by incessant rains in Masvingo caused the partial collapse of the Tokwe-Mukosi damwall, washed away crops and homes built over decades by the villagers.
The villagers have, since relocation, been up in arms with government’s insensitive handling of their plight with some claiming to have lost livestock and valuable property during the government assisted relocation to their temporary homes.
It is however the perceived reluctance by government to compensate them for the loss of their homes and livelihoods that has created a fresh crisis.
On his part, Chombo acknowledged government’s indebtedness to the villagers but said funds were not yet available for the expensive exercise.
“Every family will get its dues from government once the funds have been mobilised and lack of compensation should not stop people from moving to permanent plots as there is a real high risk of an outbreak of diseases such as typhoid because of overcrowding,” Chombo told the villagers.
Human rights organisations have also warned of a looming disaster if the affected villagers remained in those living conditions.
Chombo went on to tell the villagers that government would bar food distribution by NGOs if they continued resisting relocation.
“Why should we continue to provide food to families which insist on staying in the camp when their plots to build permanent structures are ready,” Chombo said.
Over 2000 plots have been pegged for the villagers but only 500 are ready to relocate and restart their lives at the plots, it has emerged.
Each villager is expected to receive an average of $4000 from government as compensation for losing a home and property.
Chombo was accompanied during the tour by Minister of State in Vice President Joice Mujuru’s office, Sylvester Nguni and Lands and Resettlement Deputy Minister, Tendai Savanhu.