Hunger and thirst strike Kezi

Most boreholes in the Mangwe area of Kezi have gone dry, putting pressure for water on both people and livestock, villagers have said.

In interviews with The Zimbabwean, local people said the situation was particularly critical in Sontala’s Ward 12 where more than a thousand people are reliant on a single water source.

“Most boreholes are dry and we are now relying on one borehole where hundreds of villagers have to queue to get water to drink,” said Ozisi Moyo.

“We wake up as early as 1am to fetch water at a nearby borehole. Because of lengthy queues, many have to walk to Sontala Dam, 10km away from my homestead,” said another villager. “The water level at the dam has also dropped, while temperatures here are very high.”

Chief Gorden Bango said the government was trying hard to help out and to alleviate the shortage of pasture for livestock with additional stockfeed.

“The Mangwe Farmers’ Association feed lots and the Tshatshe Grazing Scheme are playing a pivotal role in providing our animals with pastures,” said Chief Bango.

On the food situation, Bango said supplies distributed under the government’s grain distribution programme had begun to trickle through in his area.

“My headman in Ward 9 called me and said they had received some maize from government for distribution but I am yet to be furnished with finer details,” he said.

“However, water has been the major problem especially for animals that have to travel about 35km to Mambale Dam or Sontala Dam to get water.

Most of my wards have two boreholes each and in some cases they are down. Each ward needs at least three functioning boreholes,” the chief said.

Last week, Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, said Matabeleland was the worst affected region.

According to the World Food Programme, more than two million Zimbabweans would require food handouts by the first quarter of 2014 because of dwindling supplies.

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