President Morgan Tsvangirai’s statement on the grave humanitarian situation due to flash floods in Matabeleland
It is sad that the rains pounding the country have led to a humanitarian crisis of high magnitude, particularly in Matabeleland North province where we have lost villagers and livestock while some of the human and animal life has had to be evacuated.
The statistics make for a sad reading that speaks to a national catastrophe: the floods have claimed six lives, 855 marooned villagers have been airlifted, while among those rescued were 86 terminally ill people and 501 school-going children.
Grim statistics indeed.
The government has done well to declare this a national disaster but it needs to do more to save lives and alleviate human suffering. If individuals in high places can afford to spend $1,3 million in anniversary rings, it means we can afford to do more for deserving situations such as the disaster in Matabeleland.
The flash floods have swept away crops and key infrastructure such as bridges, roads and houses. The situation is reportedly grave mainly in Matabeleland North, South and some parts of Masvingo. Rains should be a blessing and not a curse, as is the current situation in these provinces.
However, more disturbing are reports that key institutions that should help such as the Civil Protection Union (CPU) that could mitigate the huge the impact of this huge disaster remain crippled by underfunding, poor communication and demoralized and underpaid staff, among other factors.
Hundreds of villagers temporarily are sheltered at Sipepa camp in Tholotsho in Mat. North after the Gwayi river burst its banks and wreaked havoc in village communities. These people deserve the support of everyone in terms of mobilizing for food, blankets, medical supplies and other material resources to alleviate the situation.
Fellow Zimbabweans, let us all assist in whatever way we can. This is a predicament that can befall any of our communities and we must all assist our fellow citizens who have been trapped into this situation through no fault of their own.
I urge civic organizations and the international community to assist our citizens mired in this very dire crisis. I and the party I lead are taking this situation seriously and we will do all we can to mobilize assistance for our fellow citizens.
It has been saddening to read sad stories of some of our citizens especially children, the elderly and the infirm who have been caught up in this tragic situation. We should all help but we want to see the government play a more prominent role in mitigating the sad plight.
Let us all help where we can because an injury to one is an injury to all of us.