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The cyclone after Idai in Chimanimani

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA RECENTLY IN CHIMANIMANI

The trail of destruction that Cyclone Idai left in Chimanimani can never be explained even by the best of story tellers. Only those who experienced the full wrath of mother nature in this part of the country could ever be able to explain the extent of emotional and physical damage Idai wrought on the people of that area.

Even on a third visit to the area it remains difficult to fully interpret the magnitude of the destruction. Grief still pervades the atmosphere albeit a smile of hope and expectation here and there.

And, even in this desolate situation, another cyclone has struck again. This time it has nothing to do with the weather, but is economic and, to some extent, political. The poor inhabitants are at the mercy of ruthless capitalists who seek to bleed the lifeless souls of Ngangu and other areas.

A price madness of basic commodities has hit Chimanimani, leaving even visitors wondering how the people who are still recovering from emotional trauma can cope with this new shock.

On Tuesday, one of the mini-supermarkets operating at The Village (biggest shopping centre in Chimanimani) was selling 2 litres of cooking oil at ZWL$42, while 2kg of sugar was going for ZWL$18.

“That is the price for cooking oil, yesterday it was $31, but we had to hike the price this morning according to latest trends,” said a shopkeeper.

On the day, the cheapest cooking oil was going for ZWL$35 for a 2-litre bottle in tuckshops. A 10kg packet of mealie meal was going for an average of ZWL$30, while Geisha bathing soap was selling at ZWL$14.

“We heard that prices are falling in Harare, but it is not happening this side. Here it is the other way round. We bought the cooking oil at ZWL$23 in Mutare,” said another shopkeeper justifying the high price.

On Thursday, 2l cooking oil was selling at ZWL$27 at TM Pick n Pay in Mutare.

About 828 people are living in tents at three camps in Chimanimani. These victims lost their property, relatives and sources of income following the Cyclone Idai-induced floods that swept across the area in March and destroyed houses mainly in Ngangu.

Martha Saurombe (61), a resident in Ngangu, said there was need for government to intervene and control the escalating prices of basic commodities.

“We appeal to the responsible authorities to come down this side and save us from this price madness. We are under siege. We heard that there are people’s shops in other areas and I ask the government to establish one or two for cyclone victims who are still recovering. The groceries are not affordable at all,” she said.

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