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Cyclone Idai: 224 families still stranded

About 224 families, who lost their homes during Cyclone Idai in March last year, are still living in tents as government struggles to fulfil its promises to build houses for them.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Edgar Seenza, the Manicaland provincial development coordinator, said government was still mobilising funds to provide shelter for the homeless families in Chimanimani.

Seenza said the government was let down by partners that failed to fulfil their pledges to build houses for the victims.

Civil Protection Unit director Nathan Nkomo in July told Parliament that Econet pulled out of the multi-million dollar project meant to construct 500 houses for Cyclone Idai victims at the last minute citing clumsy planning by government officials.

Seenza said Econet’s abandoning of the project and failure by China to also fulfil its commitment to construct 200 units had put government off rail.

“As you are aware, Econet promised to build 500 houses for the affected families, but they later pulled out from the deal through our head office, which is the Ministry of Local Government in Harare,” he told The Standard.

“China had also promised to build 200 houses, but the Covid-19 pandemic affected all this.

“So our plans were put into disarray as government.

“We have no option as we had to start to mobilise funds to build the houses.”

Seenza added: “Government took the most expensive programme of rebuilding the roads. Rebuilding the roads is the most expensive exercise, which we had to do as government.

“You can see what the government has been doing on the roads and President Emmerson Mnangagwa came to commission the roads, but work is still going on.”

Seenza said they stopped building houses in Nedziwa and opted for Westend where the government believes there is enough land for the affected families to do farming.

“We decided that the families should have a source of livelihood, that is why we abandoned Nedziwa and opted for Westend where there is enough adjacent land where there are houses being built,” he added.

“As government, we want the families to have a source of livelihood.”

He said two programmes were underway in Westend with transitional accommodation (pre-fabricated houses) and permanent houses being built.

Seenza said the construction of the pre-fabricated houses would be completed by mid-December so that the families could be accommodated during the rainy season.

Construction of permanent houses is being done in phases where an initial 20 houses are complete, while another 30 houses under phase three are almost complete.

The tropical storm affected parts of Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East and left a trail of destruction leaving hundreds dead and thousands without shelter.

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