Victims of the mysterious Chitungwiza blast, which occurred in the dormitory town of Harare four months ago after traditional rites went horribly wrong, yesterday received blankets to protect them from falling temperatures.
Touched by the plight of the victims, who now live in tents—thanks to Red Cross Zimbabwe—businessman Simon Chidhakwa gave the three families that are still soldiering on notwithstanding the vagaries of weather-blankets and groceries.
Speaking at the handover of the groceries yesterday, the victims said they are now living on hand to mouth and cannot go about their business because their houses are not secure enough.
Violet Dumba, who is nursing an infant, said the three blankets donated to each family will protect them from the winter cold.
“We have been forgotten. The government has done nothing, while Chitungwiza town council has been giving us only false promises. I had to leave my home after my child fell sick as I was afraid she could get pneumonia,” said Violet Dumba.
Early this year the country’s attention was riveted to the sprawling town of Chitungwiza, which is about 30 km from the capital Harare, after traditional healer, an infant and two adults died in a powerful explosion that razed three houses to the ground.
For weeks the neighborhood of Chitungwiza’s Zengeza suburb was a hive of activity if not a tourist attraction as the religious visited the place to see for themselves what tradition can do if it goes wrong.
But four months on the remaining families who are wallowing in poverty say the curiosity aroused by the mysterious blast did not translate to aid.
“We have nothing but our houses that rumble with the wind and leak whenever it rains. The Red Cross came and gave us blankets while some churches gave us groceries but that is about all we got from our neighbors,” said Shupikai Mandeya who now lives in a tent.
Speaking to RelZim after his gesture Chidhakwa said community leaders, the church and other religious bodies should assist families that are in urgent need of houses.
“This is not enough we should come together as a nation and assist our friends when in need. I hope the community will be moved by this act.”