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Drought ravages UMP



VILLAGERS in Uzumba, Maramba and Pfungwe in Mashonaland East province are facing acute food shortages with most families now surviving on one meal per day.

Families interviewed during a tour of the district organised by Caritas Harare said there was no hope on the horizon as rains came late when most crops had already wilted.

NewsDay heard stories of how elders were sacrificing meals to allow their children to have something to eat as a coping mechanism.

Theresa Karamba (62), of Chapinduka village, said the situation was dire and has been made worse because nearby villages they usually turn to for help had also been affected by drought.

“We have abandoned our maize crop altogether because there is no hope after rains came late,” she said.

“We got seed from Caritas, but there were no rains, so the crops were affected. This rainy season is worse than last year. Surrounding villages are also affected and we have nowhere to turn to for help.”

Karamba said villagers were surviving on one meal a day.

Twenty kilometres away from her homestead, a handful of fishers at the Nyamunadura Dam also bemoaned the effects of the drought.

The fishermen said they relied on exchanging fish for maize and sorghum from areas outside their district.

Zvarini Chitau, a 42-year-old farmer, was hopeful of salvaging a little from her maize fields following the recent rains. A bucket of maize costs US$6 or $150.

Zimbabwe has been hard hit by a severe drought that has led government and private players to import grain.

According to the World Food Programme, at least 7,7 million people in Zimbabwe are in need of food aid due to poor and erratic rains.

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