SOME 40 officials deployed by the Lands and Rural Resettlement ministry to resettle Tokwe-Mukorsi flood victims at Chingwizi transit camp in the Lowveld are threatening to pull out citing lack of resources.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
The officials yesterday claimed they were facing a myriad of challenges ranging from lack of food and shortage of protective clothing to absence of travel and subsistence allowances.
Civil Protection Unit (CPU) director Madzudzo Pawadyira yesterday confirmed he was aware of the challenges the government officials were encountering.
He promised to look into their grievances.
“I am aware of their problems but we were having cash challenges. We received the donation we were promised by the Chinese government yesterday (Tuesday) and we will look into their issues,” Pawadyira said.
China donated $500 000 towards the Tokwe-Mukorsi floods disaster relief efforts, but the money had not been received by the CPU until Tuesday.
The lands officials, who refused to be named, said they were already contemplating going back to their respective provinces until resources were availed for them to carry out their duties.
The officials have been at the camp for more than 20 days without receiving their daily allowances.
They claimed they were being fed on black tea and plain rice every morning, then sadza and kapenta fish for their lunch and supper.
Beans, they said, was served at irregular intervals.
“We have to comb through thick forests infested with snakes without protective clothes. Some flood victims who have joined us for the reason that they desperately want to be resettled are going in the bush on bare feet,” an official, who refused to be identified, said.
Some of the officials claimed they slept in vehicles during the first week of their deployment.
“Government is not serious about the resettlement of the flood victims. The lands officials are the implementers of the resettlement programme, but they are not funded,” another official said.
The officials also alleged that political interference was impacting on their work after it emerged there was haggling on the actual area the victims would be resettled.
“We pegged a certain area, but were told we had pegged the wrong area. We no longer know what to do,” another official added.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said they were concerned by the deteriorating health conditions at the holding camp.
The doctors urged the government to resettle the victims so that they could have access to permanent health facilitates.
“By and large, it should be noted that the right to healthcare, food and access to clean water are now constitutional rights,” ZADHR said in a statement.
The statement followed the outbreak of diarrhoea in the holding camp.