Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
Poor road networks in drought-stricken Kariba District are hampering food relief efforts, with community leaders now asking villagers to contribute towards its transportation.
This has proved to be a tall order for villagers who survive partly on subsistence farming and fishing in the receding Lake Kariba waters. Chief Mola told The Herald on the sidelines of an appeasement bira in Kariba recently that the food situation was dire in the area.
“We are getting food from Government but the challenges we are facing are that the food is being dropped off at Magunje Growth Point which is far from us and poor roads have made things worse,” said Chief Mola.
While acknowledging the Government’s efforts to ensure that no one starves, Chief Mola said arrangements should be made to transport food relief to nearby Kariba town or up to Siakobvu. The chief said villagers are being asked to contribute $10 to pay transporters to bring the food but most people cannot afford to pay.
It costs between $6 000 and $7 000 to transport the relief food from Magunje Growth Point to Mola which is over 200km of rugged roads away. Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said Government will take up the issue.
“Transport can be an issue but food is there to make sure that no one starves. Necessary arrangements will be made with the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Cde Prisca Mupfumira,” he said.
Kariba district administrator Mr Amigo Mhlanga said quick intervention was needed in eight wards in the district including wards 1, 3 and 4 which are hard hit.
“Its cheaper to bring the food to Kariba urban where it can be taken by boat to wards 1, 3 and 4. Government is giving the food out for free and having people meet the cost of transportation is like they are paying for it,” he said.
He said boat operators and the District Development Fund were willing to assist in transporting the relief aid across the lake. The current season is not promising either as most crops are suffering moisture stress at the vegetative stage. Government has made efforts to import up to 700 000 tonnes of maize to cushion its people from the effects of the El Nino induced drought.