Some rural communities in Matabeleland provinces have gone for over two months without food aid; a development that comes against a backdrop of a deepening socio-economic and environmental crisis.
Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Teams in rural Matabeleland have highlighted that the food security situation has reached alarming levels as the Department of Social Welfare has not distributed food aid since June in some communities.
Incessant rains and recurring droughts resulting from climate-change have affected yields in most areas. Covid-19 induced lockdown regulations have further compounded the food crisis as borders are closed. Most people in the region were dependent on diaspora remittances and would access cheaper basic commodities in Botswana and South Africa with the help of cross border transporters. However, the lockdown has seen an increase in vulnerable populations.
There are fears of starvation in communities as some families go on one meal per day. The elderly and vulnerable have been the worst affected by the absence of food aid.
A Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Team member in Bubi ward 19, highlighted that communities have gone for two months without aid.” We have been told that there is no maize at Grain Marketing Board and this is affecting distribution,” said a community member who requested confidentiality.
In Matobo ward 19 and Umzingwane Ward 5, food aid was last distributed in June while Bulilima Ward 10 last received in May. Other areas have been receiving aid from humanitarian organizations.
The absence of adequate social safety nets has worsened the plight of the vulnerable households during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Source: Habakkuk Trust