Bulil­ima chiefs raise food, wa­ter cri­sis alarm

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Whins­ley Masara Chron­i­cle Re­porter

BULIL­IMA Dis­trict is in dire need of ad­di­tional food aid and wa­ter fol­low­ing years of a crip­pling droughts.

A tra­di­tional leader in the dis­trict, Chief Masendu, told The Chron­i­cle that Bulil­ima was one of the worst af­fected dis­tricts in Mata­bele­land South.

In an in­ter­view at the chiefs’ con­fer­ence in Bu­l­awayo last week, Chief Masendu said vil­lagers have been har­vest­ing vir­tu­ally noth­ing in re­cent years due to re­cur­rent droughts.

“The food aid from gov­ern­ment is in­suf­fi­cient even for those few who are ben­e­fit­ing. All vil­lagers were badly af­fected by drought and they do not have any other sub­sti­tutes apart from the food aid, mean­ing that food doesn’t last many fam­i­lies even a week.

“Mata­bele­land South is a known dry re­gion but this year’s drought is bound to cause more dis­as­ter if there’s no im­me­di­ate in­ter­ven­tion,” he said.

Chief Masendu said as a leader, he was se­ri­ously wor­ried about the wel­fare of peo­ple and live­stock and wished he could find a so­lu­tion.

“Vil­lagers are com­ing to lit­er­ally cry at my home ev­ery morn­ing and I must say I feel like a big fail­ure as I can­not help them.

“We are ap­peal­ing to gov­ern­ment and well- wish­ers for as­sis­tance with more food aid al­lo­ca­tions and if pos­si­ble in­creas­ing the num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries be­cause many of them are in se­ri­ous need,” he said.

The chief said apart from lack of food, there was a se­ri­ous wa­ter short­age in the dis­trict.

He said vil­lagers were shar­ing con­tam­i­nated wa­ter sources with live­stock.

“The amount of wa­ter that is left in our small dams will def­i­nitely not last peo­ple into the next month.

“Many dams, rivers and bore­holes are dry­ing up and cer­tainly they won’t last up to the next month. The few func­tion­ing bore­holes have be­come hope­less be­cause peo­ple now go for an en­tire day wait­ing for their chance to fetch wa­ter,” the chief said.

A vil­lager, Mrs Sakhile Ndu­biwa, said the queues at bore­holes were un­bear­able and the wa­ter ta­ble has gone down re­sult­ing in wa­ter com­ing out in drops.

“After ev­ery two con­tain­ers are filled up, we wait for a long pe­riod be­fore we can get more. Soon peo­ple and live­stock will start dy­ing.

“We lost a lot of cat­tle last year and we can­not bear to watch the same movie re­peat it­self. We are ap­peal­ing for those who’re able to as­sist us with in­stal­la­tions of piped wa­ter schemes to come for­ward be­cause most of us may not sur­vive un­til the next rains,” said Mrs Ndu­biwa.— @win­nie_­marasa.

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