26 April 2019

Zimbabwe: Cyclone Idai Survivors Say Tired of Matemba Diet

Homeless survivors of Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, who were relocated to various areas for accommodation, claim lack of balanced diet in their donated meals.

The victims lost homes, livestock and other valuables when the harsh weather phenomenon hit the eastern parts of the country, neighbouring Mozambique and Malawi causing massive devastation.

Many have since been temporarily housed in schools, tents and other forms of accommodation as efforts are being made to help them restart their normal lives.

But their stay in temporary structures at the benevolence of government and NGOs have not been without its own challenges as many are often served with sadza and dry kapenta (Matemba) and soya chunks on a daily basis.

Some breastfeeding survivors said they were now experiencing nutrient deficiencies as a result of continuously eating matemba and soya chunks.

"We are appealing to well-wishers to provide us with other relish such as vegetables, beans and even beef.

"Our diet is not balanced. We are tired of soya chunks and matemba.

"Since we arrived here, we have been eating matemba and chunks," said Plaxedes Mpala, one of the victims who is staying at a local accomodation centre.

Mpala, who lost all her belongings to the violent storms, said she was prepared to leave the place once suitable land was availed by the authorities.

"If the government can find us a place to settle, that will be fine. We want to move on with our normal lives. Right now, our future is uncertain," she said.

Another victim who is housed at a local school also complained about poor diet and overcrowding.

"We are staying under overcrowded conditions which might expose us to diseases. Our diet is also not balanced," he told NewZimbabwe.com recently.

Following the disaster, government, NGOs, embassies, corporates and individuals mobilised funds and other forms of aid for the plight of survivors.

However, the distribution of the aid has not been without its own controversies amid claims some Zanu PF activists were grabbing the aid and distributing it along partisan lines.

Theft by lower ranked government officials and security operatives have also been experienced.

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