Pupils drop out of school as hunger stalks rural areas

By William Milasi

 Pupils in rural areas are reportedly dropping out of schools as the drought induced hunger continues to take its toll in the country.

The situation is dire in drought prone Silobela.

The dire situation is so critical that villagers now have to travel for long distances to get the precious liquid as boreholes have dried up.

Families are now forgoing solid meals as the luck once are having a meal once a day whilst most have turned to wild fruits and vegetables for survival.

Women and children are the hardest hit.

A local community leader told this publication in an interview that the area is now registering school drop outs.

This month, the United Nations launched an international appeal for $434 million in emergency aid for Zimbabwe, where drought is expected to affect a third of the country’s crop and leave 5, 3 million people needing assistance.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the country had 500 000 tonnes of grain in strategic reserves.

 “It’s a pathetic situation as there is no food at all following the drying up of all crops because there are no rains.

“People are now forgoing solid meals and surviving on vegetables. Villagers are getting maize from the social welfare but it is inadequate that out of 900 vulnerable families in my ward only 300 are benefitting

 “People are now surviving on wild fruits and one meal a day,” Councillor Willard Moyo said in an interview.

He further painted a gloomy picture, “It’s a very serious situation some school children have dropped out of school.”

The councillor said women are also amongst the worst affected as they have to contend with food shortages and also travel long distances to secure water.

“Water from our boreholes is no longer coming out. Only a few boreholes are working.

“Women are the most affected because they spend the whole day with they are the one to experience most of the hardships as more man are affected,” he said.

Recently, Silobela Member of Parliament Mthokozisa Manoki Mpofu said the debilitating drought affecting Midlands’s rural areas has resulted in wild animals menace in his area.

Wild animals according to Mpofu are now roaming the villages in search of food as the forests are not yielding due to poor rainfall.

The parliamentarian revealed that crop failure in the perennially drought prone area has left the community being seriously food insecure.

“There is serious food insecurity in my constituency that there is need of food aid,” Manoki said in an interview.

“The food situation is dire as there is now serious food insecurity. The situation has been worsened by hailstorms which struck the area destroying infrastructure in the process.

 “The hailstorm also extensively damaged the otherwise promising crop in ward 27 (Sithembiso) and 28 (Nyakwati). The situation was worsened by the scorching heat thereby extensively affecting the anticipated yield,” he said.

The situation in the rural community is now worsened by wild animals wreaking havoc in the area.

“The plight of the villagers is very dire as we are now battling with wild animal menace. Due to the drought wild animals are moving from the forests into the villages. Recently have been grappling with the problem of zebras which are now destroying what is left of the crops,” he said.

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