Four years on, Tsholotsho cyclone victims still living in tents

Some victims of the 2017 Cyclone Dineo in Tsholotsho are still living in tents four years after the disaster struck the area, a parliamentary report has indicated.

Cyclone Dineo was downgraded to a tropical storm before it hit the country in February 2017 caused widespread destruction in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, leaving hundreds homeless and a majority of areas impassable for rescue missions.

The worst affected areas in Tsholotsho included Mahlosi, Mahlaba, Thamuhla, Mbamba, Mele, Lutshome, Maphili and Mbanyana.

The government had to intervene through the Civil Protection Unit and evacuated villagers to higher ground and started building homes for them.

Presenting a report on a recent parliamentary visit to the district Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing chairperson, Miriam Chikukwa, said accommodation remained a challenge for the relocated villagers.

“Tsholotsho District was affected by floods that destroyed housing and social infrastructure in 2017 and the government responded by constructing houses for the survivors of the disaster,” said Chikukwa. 

“A total of 303 people were affected by Cyclone Dineo in 2017 in Ward 5 and 6 resulting in the creation of settlement sites in Tshino and Sawudweni. Each family was ideally supposed to be handed over a three-bedroom house, one Blair toilet and a kitchen detached from the main house. At Tshino site 143 houses were established. Of these, 11 had their roofs blown off by wind and 8 houses were yet to be roofed.” 

Chikukwa said a total of 61 more houses needed to be constructed, with about 20 families in dire need of accommodation as they were still housed in tattered tents.  

“A total of 143 toilets were constructed and 130 were not yet roofed,” she explained.

“At Saudweni Resettlement Site, 122 out of the expected 176 houses were constructed. At this site, more than 50 people were still living in tents.  At both sites, no kitchen has been constructed.  Discussions with those who had new homes revealed that most of the homes were too small for the families because they have big families and practice polygamy.”

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