Updated: Govt declares drought a national disaster

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GOVERNMENT has declared the drought, which is ravaging most parts of the country, a national disaster, to facilitate the provision of food aid,  Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The declaration comes after Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa indicated in Parliament yesterday that government was going to declare the 2015-16 agriculture season a national disaster.

Mnangagwa this after Senator Theresa Makone (MDC-T) quizzed him on when government was likely to declare the drought a national disaster in view of the massive crop failure this agricultural season.

Makone said the declaration of the drought as a national disaster would immediately trigger a response from the international community that there was urgent need for food assistance.

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“It is true that this year there is hunger, and most of the time when there is hunger in the country we declare it a national disaster in order to attract assistance from non-governmental organisations,” Mnangagwa said.

“We give them statistics, and currently we are compiling the data so that in future we will announce it as a national disaster.”

Mnangagwa said people must not panic, as government had already entered into an agreement with Zambia to buy 110 metric tonnes of maize.

“We have paid for 50 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia and 16 metric tonnes are already in the country, with 34 metric tonnes yet to come. Last week we negotiated with Zambia that they should give us 110 metric tonnes. We got $200 million to buy that maize,” he said.

Manicaland Senator Keresencia Chabuka (MDC-T) said in some areas villagers were now surviving on porridge made from wild tree roots.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Senator Agnes Sibanda (MDC-T) said many cattle were dying in Matabeleland resulting in desperate villagers selling livestock for a song.
She said government must devise ways to also give food assistance to the cattle.

“We got reports from Matabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo that some livestock have no water. We have plans to inform the people of cattle feeding programmes by the Agriculture ministry and Cold Storage Company. We also said in some areas we will keep the females and take the males for slaughter,” Mnangagwa said.

4 COMMENTS

  1. meanwhile people continue to die as we wait for the statistic to be compiled and the 4 truck loads still in zambia

  2. To think that this maize is produced by asylum farmers from Zim and a VP proudly announces that he is buying maize from there portraying himself as saviour is sad and he is still evicting productive farmers. I wonder how much Zambia will provide because they are also in drought this year and will be importing from SA, they are probably getting rid of bad stock. $2m is enough to keep the Zanu thugs alive until the next votes, as for everyone else the hunger continues and your death is a blessing to Zanu come election time.

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