EDITORIAL COMMENT: NGOs should help flood victims build homes

Destroyed homes in the wake of the heavy rains which hit the southern parts of Zimbabwe

Destroyed homes in the wake of the heavy rains which hit the southern parts of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe this year had one of the wettest seasons in a long time that has seen rainfall records being broken in areas such as Buffalo Range, Rupike Irrigation Scheme, Nyanga, Zaka and Shangani.

The incessant rains caused flooding in many areas that resulted in the death of 246 people countrywide and displaced thousands of families mainly in Tsholotsho district in Matabelalnd North province. The floods have also displaced families in some parts of Mberengwa and Gokwe in the Midlands province, Chivi and Mwenezi in Masvingo province. The Air Force of Zimbabwe had to airlift a number of families marooned by floods in Tsholotsho, Gokwe and Chivi.

In Tsholotsho the Civil Protection Unit had to set up a Transit Camp at Sipepa hospital where about 800 displaced people are accommodated. Most families displaced by floods had their homes destroyed and the worst affected district was again Tsholotsho.

Most of the affected families will have to be moved to higher ground in both Tsholotsho North and South which means they have to build new homes.

These families have over the years resisted Government moves to relocate them to higher ground but following this season’s devastating floods, most of the families have indicated that they are more than willing to be relocated.

Many of the families had their homes destroyed, livestock and household property swept away which means they were left with virtually nothing. These families urgently need to be assisted to build new homes. What they want are building materials such as bricks, cement and asbestos sheets.

Government has already launched a $200 million domestic and international appeal for humanitarian assistance for the flood victims. Government is already overwhelmed by the demand for resources to rebuild infrastructure destroyed by the floods such as bridges, roads, schools and clinics as well as take care of the thousands affected by floods who need food, clothes and shelter among other needs.

It is because of this realisation that Government is appealing for assistance from local and international donors. Non-governmental organisations are already assisting the affected families with food and other basics and we want at this juncture to appeal to them to move to the next stage of providing permanent shelter to the displaced families.

We also want to appeal to companies that manufacture building materials such as cement, bricks and asbestos to assist in the rebuilding of the destroyed homes and new homes for those to be relocated. The response for clothes, tents and food was very good and it is our fervent hope that the appeal for building materials will get a similar good response.

Those at Transit Camps such as Sipepa should move to permanent homes as soon as possible because the conditions at such camps are not good for families. We want to once again appeal to NGOs to focus on building homes for the displaced families and the target should be to move the families before the onset of winter.


Article Source: The Chronicle