Fifty meters away from Mozambique in the eastern border line of Nyanga sets a golden hut housing a family of six. A roofless cottage with crumbling walls relics in the middle of the homestead just like an ancient site resembling a history of a forgotten tribe. It is unheard of for a daughter in-law and her husband to share a bedroom with in-laws but when push comes to shove, the taboo becomes a reality. The Maito family is still counting its losses to the Cyclone Idai induced floods which hit Manicaland as they are all sheltered in a thatched hut to date.
Maito family of Kambudzi Village in Ward 9 was not spared from Nyanga flooding which hit the entire area on the night of 21 February 2021.
Since the disaster, the family has not yet recovered. Cephas Maito (63) and his wife together with three children, two sons, a daughter plus a daughter in law are just grief-stricken.
For days, they would retire to bed without having a decent meal. At the time of writing the story, roasted or boiled mealie-cobs formed their core diet. This owes to the grocery loss which was drenched during the floods.
As the sun sets in the evening, their hearts sink in agony dreading the unthinkable of sharing the same hut as a bedroom.
“At the far wall I would see his wrinkled arm over my mother’s back. His raucous continuous cough always keeps me awake. My wife will be just a finger away from my chin. She does not close her eyes to sleep but to avoid my brother’s eyes as he will be sleeping just behind me. We will be all under the warmth of one threaded, see-through blanket. Our thirteen year old sister will be cautiously minding her feet not to kick the pots dazzling closer to the fire-place,” tearful 21 year old Tapiwa Maito narrates his ordeal.
Located in the boarder margins, the family missed the flood awareness’s forecasted due to lack of internet connectivity, poor radio signals and newspapers reach- a scenario depicting the state of the nation’s communication.
Indeed a peripheral catchment area with a people denied the right to information and the privilege to access of information is cut-off.
Natural disasters preparedness and responsiveness in Zimbabwe’s peripheral areas remain sanctified issues when dealing with occurrences of disasters. DOMCCP with support from ActionAid, is implanting interventions to mitigate the situation through emergence response programming in disaster prone areas.
In Nyanga, more than one hundred households have benefited from the emergence response initiative.
The circumstances of Maito family have drawn the attention of ActionAid and a needs assessment was conducted by DOMCCP.
“The family is in dire need for assistance. Under the emergence response funding mechanisms, DOMCCP will channel resources towards the family. There is need for food, clothing and roofing materials for the family to fully recover from its losses,” said Martin Kanengoma DOMCCP’s project officer.
The local traditional leadership has also bemoaned the family’s misfortune before pleading for assistance from well-wishers and giving an oversight of the impact posed by the floods.
“It is sad indeed for Maito family. At least no one died. One of the neighbors had to lend them a blanket. Currently, they are all sheltered in one heart. We appeal for roofing materials assistance, food items and blankets for the family. The disaster affected a lot of families totaling 20 homesteads in Kambudzi Village. However, Maito family is the one solely affected,” said Ward 9 Councilor Mr. Kelvin Makanyange.