Temporary relief for starving villagers

By William Milasi

There has been a temporary relief on starving Gokwe North villagers following interventions by a non-governmental organization on the situation of over 200 000 villagers who are food insecure.

Government has said the entire Gokwe North District is in need of food aid following a debilitating drought which has ravaged most parts of the country following crop failure caused by incessant heat wave.

Gokwe North District Administrator Isaac Mutambara in an interview said World Vision is supplementing government efforts albeit for a short period thereby offering a temporary relief for starving villagers.

Mutambara has since said some parts of Gokwe only received rains twice during the cropping season.

The country’s prime producer of cotton, farmers in the area have since been left counting their losses.

“World Vision is implementing a food programme targeting the worst affected and the average of a village is six fortunately government has chipped in with an incremental number from 13 000 beneficiaries to more than 33 000,” he said.

The senior government official said 50 000 are in dire need of food aid in Gokwe North.

Despite World Vision intervention Mutambara painted a gloomy picture of the future ahead.

“This is a temporary reprieve as World Vision is only running this programme for three months,” he said.

He added that the situation is scary in that, “the whole Gokwe North district is food insecure.”

According to Mutambara most of the crops in Gokwe North are a complete right off where, “What could have been saved of the crops from the scorching heat is now being destroyed by pests.”

He indicated that so bad was the cropping season that some areas received rains only twice.

“The Siamchembo area that borders Gokwe North and Binga received rainfall only twice this season and is the most affected,” he said.

Mutambara indicated that though there is an ongoing school feeding programme to feed school children, the grain being received from government is inadequate.

“Villagers are sharing the little grain from Social Welfare. The scenario is very bad. We however, have to thank God as there is a school feeding programme in schools.

“On average 2 villagers in a village of 35 households are recipients of grain and then they would share the 50 kg of grain with the rest of the villagers,” he said.

Most of the villagers are now struggling to find water for domestic use and provide for their domestic animals after most of the rivers and boreholes dried up.

Villagers are now forced to walk an average 10 km to find water for domestic use.

In the past farming season Gokwe recorded a staggering amount of 31 million kilograms of cotton, retaining its known glory of being the top cotton producer in the counrty.

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