Byo’s needy get food aid More cemeteries for Bulawayo
THE Government’s has started distributing food aid in Bulawayo with over 3 000 vulnerable people benefiting since Wednesday last week.
Since the launch of the programme last year, Bulawayo and Harare were not receiving the food aid.
However, ministers in charge of the provinces requested the Government to extend the programme to the metropolitan provinces after discovering that disadvantaged groups like orphans, the elderly, widows and people living with disabilities faced starvation.
In Bulawayo, beneficiaries from the first batch included residents from Luveve, Cowdray Park, Makokoba, Mzilikazi, Njube and Iminyela suburbs.
Bulawayo Metropolitan Province social welfare officer Mr Chriswell Nyakudya said: “We’ve managed to do the distributions for July as anticipated. We distributed according to the Government’s directives by distributing to the harmonised cash transfers and public assistance members,” said Mr Nyakudya.
“We distributed grain to 3 115 vulnerable people. Out of 156,75 tonnes we distributed 155,75 tonnes giving us a balance of one tonne. One tonne was left because beneficiaries did not turn up to claim their share,” said Mr Nyakudya.
He said in some wards distributors were forced to give the food aid to deserving people who were not on their lists as the targeted members were not available.
“We ended up giving the left overs to the disabled, elderly, chronically ill, widows and widowers and orphans. The ward screening team decided to come up with the lists,” he said.
Mr Nyakudya said he was happy with the level of cooperation from the steering committee comprising other government departments saying it made the distribution move swiftly.
He said although over 3 000 were assisted with food aid more people may still be in need of it.
“We need an urban poverty assessment committee. We need Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) to do a scientific investigation to determine the poverty levels in the cities. At the moment we don’t have any science evidence based figure,” he said.
He challenged the private sector join the Government in assisting those in need of food aid.
“We could be covering more ground if other stakeholders could come on board. The registration committee has registered beneficiaries so that we give the figures to the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo so that she can brief the President that in Bulawayo we still have more people in need of food aid,” he said. THE Government will soon gazette Pumula and Marvel cemeteries, paving the way for the establishment of more than 150 000 graves in Bulawayo.
The city is fast running out of burial space following the closure of West Park cemetery after it ran out of burial space.
The new Pumula cemetery, which used to belong to Hawkflight Construction Company, is near Pumula South, while the Marvel cemetery is located at Marvel Township in an area lying between the Bulawayo-Harare Road and the Bulawayo-Harare Railway Line near Mahatshula.
Acting Town Clerk Mrs Sikhangele Zhou yesterday said the city was making arrangements for the gazetting of the cemeteries.
“We’ve received the go ahead from the Government to establish the Pumula and Marvel cemeteries as we have run out of burial space at West Park cemetery. We’re now making arrangements to pay for the gazetting of the two cemeteries at the Government Printers and we’re aiming to do so by Friday,” said Mrs Zhou during a media consultative meeting organised by the council yesterday.
Mrs Zhou said after the gazetting of the cemeteries, council will start preparing the two sites for burials.
The Pumula cemetery measures 52, 7 hectares and is expected to accommodate between 107 350 and 114 270 graves after allowing for foot paths and driveways. The Marvel cemetery measures about 25 hectares. The local authority started limiting burials at West Park to 10 per day and moved all burials of children to Luveve cemetery, before the decision to close the cemetery in June.
Of late the council has been encouraging people to cremate their loved ones, saying burial space at the cemeteries was fast running out.
However, the local authority has claimed there is a low response from residents to switch over to cremations, with only 12 having been recorded in February this year.
After gazetting of the two new cemeteries, Bulawayo will have nine burial sites including Old Luveve, Luveve Extension, Luveve 3, Hyde Park, West Park, Lady Stanley and Athlone Avenue. The council handles about 300 to 400 burials per month. The local authority has said only Luveve cemetery is operational, but it is also fast running out of space.
Residents from other suburbs like Nketa, Nkulumane and Emganwini and eastern suburbs have complained that Luveve Cemetery is very far away from their homes as some travel more than 40 kilometres to the cemetery.
Bulawayo councillors suggested having two or three people buried in one grave to conserve burial space.
Last month the Government approved the establishment of a private cemetery in Bulawayo’s Northlyn/ Trenance suburb.
Residents had over the years resisted establishment of the burial ground, saying it was too close to their homes. — @ pamelashumba1
Mrs Sikhangele Zhou