Thousands of villagers in Mwenezi district, one of Masvingo’s most drought prone districts, are struggling with hunger and food insecurity.
By Moses Mugugunyeki
The villagers said their situation was exacerbated by the advent of COVID-19.
They said the COVID-19 lockdown disrupted travel to South Africa which had become a source of livelihood for most families in the district.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) facilitated food distribution programme at Rutenga business centre yesterday, villagers said they were living from hand to mouth.
“It is not looking good. We failed to harvest this past season because we received little rainfall,” said Michael Ndlovu from Chakauya village in ward 14.
Ndlovu is among 10 000 people benefiting from the ZRCS emergency food assistance programme. Each family receives food vouchers worth US$65.
The programme, which is being funded by the British Red Cross is being implemented in three wards in Mwenezi.
Farirai Mandinyenya, one of the beneficiaries, said the COVID-19-induced lockdown had worsened their plight.
“We hardly get meaningful rainfall here, but our situation was exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak. Most of us here rely on South Africa and the closure of the body disrupted everything,” Mandinyenya, a mother of three, said.
Mwenezi is one of the driest districts in the country.
ZRCS programmes officer Tinotenda Maphosa said the food programme had incorporated resilience projects.
“The emergency food assistance programme runs concurrently with other projects meant to build resilience among communities, thus we are also giving out farming inputs to the villagers,” Maphosa said.
Maphosa said the programme, which is also being implemented in three wards in Chipinge, Manicaland province, ended in February.
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