By Sharon Chigeza, in Chimanimani
Government is set to begin the relocation exercise at West End farm in Bumba, Chimanimani of more than 200 families who were displaced by Cyclone Idai in efforts to expedite the recovery and relocation exercise before the wet season.
The relocation of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) comes at a critical time as people prepare for the rains in the next two months.
At least 95 houses out of the 105 targeted permanent housing units at West End Farm have been completed with 119 more temporary decent structures expected to be finished before year end.
Government through the Department of Public Works started construction of permanent houses at West End Farm last year with the initial batch of 95 houses now roofed and floored.
Manicaland Public Services and National Housing director, Engineer Tendai Chiwanza said despite numerous challenges faced by the department in construction, he was pleased with the progress and well assured that the housing units are strong enough to withstand harsh weather conditions.
“The department has been working flat out in construction of these housing units despite the adverse conditions the workers have been subjected to.
Generally the topography of the area is unsuitable for manual construction work and the lack of adequate water sources adds salt to the wound.
“However I am pleased to note that we have covered ground and certain we will have the IDPs housed by the beginning of this year’s rainy season,” he said.
In efforts to expedite the relocation of IDPs in Chimanimani district, Government is working in collaboration with International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which has pledged to provide for temporary two roomed shelters as Government works on the construction of the permanent houses in the allocated stands.
IOM is today expected to start the relocation of 14 IDPS to the temporary housing structures on the allocated stands at West End Farm.
After months in makeshift sites and tents, over a hundred families will be provided with shelters made of wooden sheeting and other materials by the end of this year.
Chimanimani Ward 15 Councillor, Mr Panganai Chirongera said initial construction efforts were slow and strenuous due to the lack of water for construction but was pleased to note that the first group of IDPs to be relocated to temporary structures was all set for October 1, 2021.
“The first group of IDPs are to be relocated today for temporary shelter starting with 14 households.
“I would like to note that the construction exercise is being slowed down by water challenges at the relocation site. The logistics team is at most times moving long distances to fetch water and this hampers the expedition of the construction efforts.
This has however tremendously improved through the introduction of service vehicles to cart water and we are optimistic all the IDPs will be in their new homes before year end,” said Chirongera.