50,000 need urgent food aid

Over 50,000 desperate households in the arid district of Chivi and surrounding areas in Masvingo face imminent starvation if government fails to intervene with urgent food aid, a local government official has said.

The District Administrator, Bernard Hadzirabwi, told The Zimbabwean in an interview on the sidelines of a Nyamakwe irrigation scheme fish farming field day recently that villagers could starve if they do not get immediate help.

He said food aid from the government grain loan scheme was erratic and villagers had gone for close to two months without supplies.

Hadzirabwi said the district had not been getting aid from non-governmental organisations, thereby compounding the food crisis.

Early this year, Zanu (PF) Masvingo Provincial Governor, Titus Maluleke, banned humanitarian aid groups from operating in the province, accusing them of being agents of the west seeking to boost support for the mainstream MDC.

“Right now, we do not have NGOS giving out food handouts and that’s why the issue is a bit complicated because we need some organisations that would complement government. But we have Care International which is carrying out a registration exercise and hope it will start giving food handouts soon,” Hadzirabwi added.

The DA said the district’s irrigation infrastructure was rundown and called on the government to resuscitate it so that people can be saved from starvation and hunger. Community Tolerance and Reconciliation Development, in its latest monthly report, indicated that government needed to deal urgently with hunger.

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