Chi-Town blast victims forgotten

HARARE - Falling temperatures have exposed victims of the Chitungwiza bomb blast — who still live in tents that rumble with the wind and leak whenever it rains — to the ravages of weather and disease.

There is no electricity, nor water and the floors are sandy, leaving the dwellers of the Red Cross pitched tents at the mercy of weather vagaries.

“We have been forgotten,” said one of the affected residents Violet Dumba.

“The government has done nothing, while Chitungwiza Town Council has been giving us only false promises. Recently my child fell sick and I was afraid she could have got pneumonia,” Dumba told the Daily News at the weekend.

In January this year, the country’s attention was drawn to the mysterious Chitungwiza explosion that blew to pieces three adults and an infant, but now Zimbabweans have moved on almost forgetting the families that leave in makeshift houses and tents that do not have doors and toilets.

Touched by the plight of the victims, who are scared of the impending winter season, a local businessman Simon Chidhakwa on Saturday donated blankets to the three families.

Speaking after donating the blankets — three per family — Chidhakwa said his gesture, timely as it was, was not enough.

“The whole community should mobilise resources in order to assist these families. The best that we should do is to at least build decent core houses because the blankets alone will not be adequate. It is during times like this when communities should join hands and assist each other,” said Chidhakwa.

Some parts of Zimbabwe are already recording very low temperatures while the Meteorological Department has warned that weather conditions could only get worse as Zimbabwe heads into what could be one of the coldest seasons.

Affected families said Dumba’s gesture should open doors for other well-wishers to assist.

“Chando chatiuraya (the cold weather is killing us. These blankets are good but we need walls. Most of the families here have sent their children to live with relatives while the adults remain. I used to be a vendor but we cannot leave our houses since they do not have doors,” said Gogo Garengera.

After the blast, the neighbourhood of Chitungwiza’s Zengeza suburb was a hive of activity, if not a tourist attraction, as people visited the scene to feed their curious minds.

But four months on, the remaining families who are wallowing in poverty say the curiosity aroused by the mysterious blast has failed to translate into aid.

“We have nothing but our collapsed houses. The Red Cross came and gave us blankets while some churches gave us groceries but that is all we got from our neighbours,” said Fearlet Gunda, a mother of one.

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