Hunger driving victims back to flood-prone areas
Hunger has hit hard flood victims, who are still in camps in Chikwawa, forcing some of them to return to the same areas where their friends and family members were washed away few months ago.
The situation has apparently been worsened by the decision by government and other nongovernmental organisations to phase out rationing of food in the camps in a bid to decommission the camps and encourage the victims to restart their lives.
Group Village Head Champhanda said hunger has become acute and unbearable in the camps since all property, crops and livestock were washed away and the victims have nothing to restart their lives with.
“Many of us are staying for up to three days without food. We stopped receiving food in May soon after the rains stopped. We have nothing as you know we rely on farming, hence some people are returning home to find food,” said Champhanda.
He added that his people– about 350 households— have relocated to the new place where a borehole and some temporary shelters are being erected but hunger is still more driving some people back to their former land in search of food.
Champhanda also said his subjects are relying on piecework to sustain.
Jombo Camp chairperson Christina Nthache said people are starving so much so that they are fighting for foods like cucumbers with cattle in the fields around where they have relocated.
“Hunger is a big problem right now. We feel it is too early to stop rationing food to us because we have nothing. We have been fighting for food with cattle but even the fields are now dry. Our children are starting to develop malnutrition,” said Nthache
District Commissioner for Chikwawa Bester Mandele acknowledged that the people could have a valid complaint, considering that supply of food has drastically reduced since the rains stopped.
“It could be true that people are starving because most of the organisations gave us food when the floods had just occurred. The last food we had was given from government and that was two months ago and up to now people have not been given anything,” he said.
Nthache described the return of people to the flood-prone areas as worrisome, saying history may repeat itself if nothing is done by the next rainy season.
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