Kadoma — Over 5000 households in the Mashonaland West town are reportedly starving and in urgent need of food assistance as the 21-day nationwide lockdown takes a toll on impoverished residents.
Once an agricultural and industrial hub, a lot of people in Kadoma have turned destitute following the closure of companies such as David Whitehead Textiles.
The food security of many was also compromised by government's chaotic land reform process that wreaked the mainstay agriculture from the turn of the century.
"The majority of people in Kadoma live from hand to mouth through the informal sector due to a collapsed economy and industry," Kadoma Central MP Muchineripi Chinyanganya told NewZimbabwe.com weekend.
The legislator said the plight of residents has worsened under a government imposed national lockdown to try and combat the spread of coronavirus.
"The fact that people have been ordered to stay under lockdown for 21 days means their sources of income have been cut off and consequently they will not be able to put food on their tables," he said.
Chinyanganya urged government to urgently provide food handouts as more than 5 000 households were in urgent need of food assistance in Kadoma.
"The lockdown has impacted negatively on the people's livelihoods. Government should look at providing food handouts in s non-partisan way for vulnerable people like what other countries such as Rwanda are doing.
"Currently in Kadoma more than 5 000 people are in urgent need of food assistance," he said.
The MDC Alliance has since urged government to cushion all vulnerable families in the face of the lockdown.
Welfare Secretary in the opposition party Maureen Kademaunga said the $100 cushioning allowance being proposed by government was paltry.
"Zimbabweans are living from hand to mouth, surviving on less than US$1 a day. The majority are in the informal sector and survive on daily savings.
"Having to spend 21 days under lockdown with no money, food and access to basic essentials is potentially breeding ground for diseases and starvation," she said.
Government recently launched some mitigatory measures to cover one million vulnerable households under a Cash Transfer Programme.
Under this programme, the vulnerable households get $100 per month as a cushioning allowance.