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Chimanimani Camp: Picture By Shingirai Vambe

The Plight Of Cyclone Victims During Covid-19

By Shingirai Vambe

Chimanimani – July 8, 2020

Cyclone Idai victims have bemoaned the squalid shelters they have been living in which have created a permanent disaster due to corruption, negligence and lack of transparency by the Government.

The victims find themselves caught between corruption and bureaucracy as they feel neglected even though there were funds and resources channelled to the people during the disaster which could have brought long term solution to their lives.

A total number of 253 victims living in tents at Kopa, Chimanimani and Chipinge told Post On Sunday and legislators this week that the neglect has created thieves, drug abusers and sex workers for survival as they no longer receive any aid while Government has failed to provide housing or land for proper housing structures.

Spiwe Marupisi the woman who spent three days trapped in water at Kopa told this publication that there were people who were now taking advantage of the situation and real victims.

She said she was still challenged as she still needs to seek medical attention for injuries she incurred during the disaster, worse still she now has to pay for such services in US dollars.

She further highlighted that some of the injuries she succumbed to during the disaster have become permanent and seeks Government intervention in creating projects for the surviving victims so that they can provide for themselves.

“Our tents are now getting into their second year, no lights, no security and they have lived their age, water drips inside insects and snacks find themselves in and that is not safe for us.

Amongst the victims they are children who lost both parents, becoming child-headed families, they is high risk of early child marriages, transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and because of hunger you cannot live your valuables behind unless they are stolen” Marupisi said.

She further highlighted that these child-headed families were always forgotten in food distribution programs as people try to fix in their names to receive aid even when they were not seriously affected.

The portfolio committee of Local Government and National Housing together with the committee of Peace and Security are now seized with the issue of housing needs in the Cyclone Idai ravaged area as nothing materialised since the calamity struck off these two districts of Manicaland.

Affected families and individuals have lost faith in our Government efforts in assisting the victims and they requested that if possible be allocated land and they will build themselves houses to live in rather than continue living in these compound unsecured tents without privacy.

So far three girls of underage have been said to have given birth and some resorted to move in with those who were not affected and were taken advantage of.

Apart from having proper housing challenges, the victims are appealing to Government to speed up the process of lost documents as well as declaring the missing persons dead so that their deaths certificates could be acquired.

Marupisi told this publication that she lost seven members of her family, her husband, sister and children and she survived the disaster together with her 10 year old son and her sister’s child. She tried to approach the local legislator, Joshua Sacco, but no documentation has been processed.

Committee Chairperson Miriam Chikukwa challenged the local leadership to prioritize the lives of the affected people in these two districts and speed up all the processes that will relieve victims to self-dependence.

The committee will proceed to Masvingo where there are also areas which were hit by Cyclone Idai and make assessments of how they are living and if there are any changes to plans which were put in place for the affected people.

“Development partners are said to be pulling out and some resorting to go on their own to give aid the people due to lack of transparency and corruption. Cases of embezzled Idai funds are still before the courts and not accountability has been made”, legislators said”.

However when the team arrived at Chipinge, Officers said were not aware of the visit, Hon Chikukwa contacted the permanent Secretary who refuted that report and said they were lying. Parliament wrote a notification letter on the 24 of June 2020 and it was produced as evidence.

Apart completed work through the support of development partners, Chipinge had nothing to show. Partners such as UNICEF, Plan, World Vision, to mention just a few funded for the construction of 115 and renovation of 250 houses, classrooms and resuscitation of water supply from the dam which was washed away during cyclone