Legislator fear pupils might not reopen schools as drought induced hunger takes toll

By Staff Reporter

Silobela Legislator Mthokozisa Manoki Mpofu has expressed fear that most pupils in his constituency might fail to reopen schools due to serious drought induced hunger which has ravaged his rural jurisdiction.

The lawmaker further predicted that most pupils will drop out when schools reopen and no mitigatory measures have been put in place.

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.

“The situation is very bad that there is need for serious intervention,” the dejected lawmaker said.

The attributed the dire situation to crop failure which has been caused by drought thereby affecting learners.

“The situation is very bad that 80% of the crop is now a total write off. We probably need to food support not only for school children but their parents as well,” he said.

He added that the ongoing social welfare program is not adequate to feed the growingly food insecure community.

“Some learners might not reopen schools those who will be lucky to go back to school might drop out because of hunger. There is need for a speedy intervention in most wards in my area,” he said.

A local councillor Willard Moyo buttressed Mpofu’s statements.

 “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.

Mpofu added that 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.

A rural teacher’s union indicated that there is need for serious interventions in most rural areas.

President of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) Obert Masaraure painted a gloomy picture of learners in the rural areas.

The firebrand educationist and union leader said learners are now leaving schools not only because of drought but also the inclement economic situation in the country.

“Learners are leaving schools to engage in activities with immediate economic returns. Some are going for gold panning, some are crossing the border in border communities and other activities,” Masaraure said.

“We also have incidences of learners who are just staying home scavenging for food. We don’t have statistics at hand but we continue to receive reports capturing the above issues,” Masaraure said.

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