23 May 2018

Zimbabwe: Food Shortages Hit Mt Darwin Villagers

Villagers of Nembire area in Mt Darwin West are facing a critical shortage of food due to the erratic rains that affected the area this farming season.

Most of the affected villagers, particularly those in Ward 7, have resorted to scavenging for food left over by school children at St Albert's High School.

So dire is the situation that the villagers, mostly women, travel for about 10 kilometres to the school and the school is no longer throwing away the leftovers, but keeping them for local people.

Speaking at Chief Nembire's homestead on Saturday, member of the National Assembly for the area Cde Barnwell Seremwe said the highest yield in the area was five bags and most people were relying on one meal per day.

"Ward 7 is the most affected and it has about 4 000 people. We are trying with the Social Welfare Department to bring food aid, but it is not enough, we need more maize. The rains were erratic and in January we received too much rainfall, our crops did not survive," he said.

"St Albert's High School is now aware of the situation and they are now keeping leftovers for the villagers. People leave their containers at the school to secure a portion of leftovers at the school. Last time, I managed to source 174 tonnes of maize, but we need more for our people to survive."

He added that St Albert's to Dotito road is in a bad state, causing pregnant women to give birth on way to the hospital.

"The road was last maintained after Independence in 1980, it is now in a bad state. Transport operators are now shunning this route because of its bad state. Women give birth on their way to the hospital," he said.

"We also don't have a dam in this area and livestock travel 38 kilometres to a dam in Dotito. We wish to have a boarding school in this area, we send out children to Ruya, Mavhuradonha and St Albert's boarding schools, which are far.

Mr Albert Kagwambe who resides at St John's in the same area appealed to Government for assistance.

"Due to erratic rainfall, our crops did not do well. The highest yield in our area is eight to five bags and our reserves are drying up. The situation is bad," he said.

Mrs Keresenzia Shambakumanja said a few people harvested about eight to five bags and the rest have resorted to mapfunde.

"In January we receive too much rainfall and it affected our crops. We are in hunger and we appeal to Government to assist us."

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