Byo’s needy get food aid More ceme­ter­ies for Bu­l­awayo

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili Chron­i­cle Cor­re­spon­dent Pamela Shumba Se­nior Re­porter

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

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