By Nokuthaba Dlamini
ABOUT 87 000 people in Matabeleland North are in dire need of humanitarian assistance a situation that made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an interview with CITE, Matabeleland North Social Welfare officer Macnon Chirinzepi said most of the vulnerable people are failing to travel to collect their cushioning funds due to travel restrictions brought about by the national lockdown.
Government is currently providing financial support to 51 810 people in the province, and each of them receive ZWL$180 per month.
“We have 860 beneficiaries that are supposed to come and collect their cards for them to be able to buy some foodstuff but they have not been able to travel to our offices due to lockdown,” he said.
“Our beneficiaries are both from rural and urban setups and these include the disabled, child-headed families, elderly people and small and medium enterprises groups that have been negatively affected by this pandemic. We hope that starting from next month, their allowances are going to increase to RTGs 400 per month, and those that have not been able to access their allowances will find their allowances accumulated.”
The beneficiaries are vetted by their local authorities and social welfare officials.
The department expects to increase its support to reach 87 000 people by September.
“From September, we are going to increase the support as many families would have run out of food supply. We have 87 000 people in dire need of humanitarian assistance in our register and we aim to assist all of them at that time because coronavirus would have affected them and even more. We also have non-governmental organisations that are assisting with the distribution of money and food to about 25 000 people in the province and that is an assistance that is welcome and we shall continue working together to alleviate hunger stocking our people.”
Chirinzepi invited the beneficiaries to bring their identification documents at any district social welfare offices to collect their mobile phone sim cards where the money will be loaded.