Tents erected for displaced Cyclone Idai victims in Chimanimani are almost deserted, amid reports that impostors who had been faking to be in need of accommodation have since moved out, The Manica Post has learnt.
Hope to get houses on spacious yards for free seems to have triggered the influx of undeserving people into the temporary shelter.
When Cyclone Idai struck during the night of March 15, 2019, infrastructure in parts of Manicaland Province was extensively damaged.
Ngangu Primary and Chimanimani High Schools were cut off the rest of the world and affected people in surrounding communities — especially from Ngangu high-density suburb — moved into these schools to camp there, before tents were erected at various camps.
Food and other utilities were supplied by the Government, development partners and other well-wishers.
According to investigations carried out by The Manica Post, it is now emerging that some locals whose houses were not destroyed by the cyclone had also moved into the camps to access free food, clothing and cash disbursements.
Some would move back to their houses at night after spending the day in the tents.
A visit to the camp-sites early this week revealed that some tents were deserted a long time ago after imposters ran out of patience.
Abboretum Camp has 59 deserted tents, Nyamatanda (30), Garikai (83), while Copa has 53.
At the height of the Cyclone Idai recovery efforts, Abboretum Camp had 320 families, but as of Tuesday, only 35 households remained.
Locals told The Manica Post that some corrupt officials had allocated tents to their proxies so that they could receive donations and share them with the “facilitators”.
Chimanimani District Development Coordinator, Joseph Manyurapasi, said the impostors who were housed in the tents have since moved out.
“We cannot rule that out. In fact it is true. We have a number of people who moved into the tents to enjoy freebies from well-wishers. They were also hoping to benefit from the houses being constructed for the Cyclone Idai victims.
“The good thing is that we have a housing and shelter sub-committee that is already working on establishing who really deserves assistance and who does not. They will be soon table their report,” said Manyurapasi.
Abboretum Camp chairman, Timothy Mufuri also said some undeserving people had invaded the camp.
“We have a good number of people who just came here to benefit from the donations. They were also hoping to eventually get free houses. Most of them have since left.
“Some had only visited Chimanimani to mourn their relatives and decided to join genuine victims at the camps.
“However, we have people who were genuinely affected by the cyclone but have since moved out because of the living conditions in the tents,” said Mupfuri.
Ngangu resident and blogger, Lovex Kimbini said he once spoke to a Ngangu resident who confessed that he had moved into a tent in an effort to milk all the freebies he could get.
“I remember asking one person I knew what he was doing in the tents when his house was intact in Ngangu. He told me point blank that he had been allocated the tent by a certain official so that they would share the goods that he would receive while living in the tents,” said Kimbini.
Government is working tirelessly to construct houses for homeless Cyclone Idai victims, with the first batch expected to be completed by end of this month.
-The Manica Post