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A visit to cyclone Idai victims with Jacob Ngarivhume

03 Nov 2020 at 21:35hrs | Views
When Cyclone Idai struck Chimanimani and other areas in March 2019, it left a trail of destruction. To this day, thousands remain unaccounted for. Livelihoods were negatively affected by both loss of human resources and assets.

Death and grief engulfed the cascading valleys for months on end and left the communities traumatized. Unfortunately ED's government has decided to neglect these directly affected communities.

The world at large was quick to respond with assistance of every kind. Ngarivhume joined hundreds of well wishers who contributed and visited the area soon after the tragedy.

Disturbing reports of ZANU PF officials stealing donations soon made painful headlines. Just like it has been everywhere under this regime, no-one was ever brought to account. ZANU PF officials are known to feed on the misery of the suffering masses. Tones of donated food stuffs are  known to have rotten in storehouses because the victims were deemed not ZANU PF "enough" to receive the donations. Pathetic!

Almost two years after the cyclone struck, Ngarivhume decided to go back and see how the victims were making ends meet. He was accompanied by his wife Nyasha.

The scenery in Chimanimani remains serene, awesome and beautiful. The valleys are deep and winding. Mountain sides still bear evidence of a merciless foreign intruder who ravaged them with indelible markings of landslides scattered across the mountain sides. Hats off to Masimba Construction who did a splendid work on the roads that had been washed away.

The weather was terribly hot when we arrived just after lunch at Ngangu, the epicentre of the destruction. The eye of the cyclone passed through this place and inflicted maximum damage.

Two camps, Garikai and Nyamatanda were established here by UNICEF to house more than 171 families in tents. With each family having an average of six members, they are overcrowded.

We sat down to hear their stories. What the survivors went through was horrific and unimaginable, the Steven Spielberg horror-movie stuff. Some entire households were swept away in the dead of the night never to be seen again. It was heart wrenching to hear what they went through.  

They also told us of their dire need of food, clothing and clean water. They lost all their livelihoods and are living on donations which are proving difficult to come by. The tents are now old and torn, and now with the rains upon us, their misery will be multiplied.

We got inside these tents to get a feel of what it is like to live here.  During the day, temperatures inside the tents are unbearable to say the least. We could not spend even three minutes inside!

Emerging from one of the tents, a sweating Ngarivhume had no nice words for the government. He said, "To think that these people have been living under these inhumane conditions for close to two years is very disturbing. A lot of money was donated to support cyclone Idai victims. Even ED is on record for boasting after receiving $2.5 million of US dollars as opposed to 'our worthless bonds'. Where is all that money?  I bet it was lost to corruption!"

Clothing and food items brought by Mrs Ngarivhume became a drop in the ocean. A lot is required just so they can see the next day!

As we walked through the camp, one of the victims identified Ngarivhume and was excited to meet him in person! With much joy she said, "We heard you were arrested and we have been praying for you since. When were you released? We are so happy that you came out alive and you are here to see us".

"We thank God for the good work you are doing in fighting corruption," she said with a wide grin on her face.

As we left the place, we were refreshed that at least there are some who could still smile despite their calamity. For them everyday is a hustle and a fight for survival.

Lest we forget, the victims still need our national support!



Source - The 31st July Protests Correspondent
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