SIAKOBVU — Nearly 30 000 villagers in Siakobvu, Kariba are surviving on wild fruits, competing with equally hungry wild animals because of acute food shortages.
BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
Some villagers are surviving on porridge made from the wild fruits. They told Standardcommunity that the situation was compounded by the fact that charitable organisations were not able to supply food in the affected areas because the roads were virtually impassable.
Individuals who sacrifice their vehicles to transport food are those that would sell it at inflated prices, they said.
Simeon Simuchembu, under Chief Mola, bemoaned the poor state of the roads in the remote area situated about 270 kilometers west of Karoi town.
“Sangano Bridge was washed away by rains late last year and the few [people] that bring maize meal here are selling it for US$20 a bucket,” said Simuchembu. “We are surviving on wild fruits, especially utsiga. We are starving here.’’
In Harare, a bucket of maize costs US$7.
Local MP, Isaac Mackenzie appealed for food aid saying hunger was stalking hundreds of villagers in his constituency. He said the worst affected villagers were under Chiefs Mola, Negande and Nebiri.
“We are appealing for food aid as a matter of urgency. About 30 000 villagers are facing starvation. Some are surviving on sour porridge made from a wild fruit called utsiga. Those near Lake Kariba are surviving solely on fish,” said Mackenzie.
The MP said the 150 tonnes of maize donated by President Robert Mugabe last year and another 90 tonnes provided by a private crocodile company, Pagenga, were consumed a long time ago.
“The donation by President Mugabe and a private company was a drop in the ocean as villagers had virtually nothing from last season,” said Mackenzie. “Pupils are no longer attending lessons due to hunger. It is pathetic and we need food aid as a matter of urgency.’’
The government said it is importing 150 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa to guarantee food security before the next harvest in April.