There was dancing, ululation and prayer sessions when three trucks carrying food and other government relief items showed up at a make-shift Rusa Tobacco Estate 69 in Mchinji District last week.
The destitute people were over 3 000 family members of former tenants who used to work on tobacco estates in Kasungu and trekked to the idle government estate in Mchinji over a month ago after living under a ‘landless’ state that limited their capacity to grow their own food for many years.
It was the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) that brought the relief items at a time the re-settlers were facing looming starvation as their food rations ran low.
“It was as if our sad story of being ignored by the government was continuing. Even after the media publicised our plight, there still seemed to be no hope. Now you can imagine our joy,” camp chairperson Shadreck Kaimfa said yesterday.
The Dodma relief aid comprised 300 bags of maize, weighing 50 kilogrammes each, 1 500 plastic plates, 1 500 plastic cups and 10 kilogrammes of salt. 1 500 blankets were to be delivered later this week.
Dodma relief and recovery director Paul Kalilombe said the relief items were a one-off response, adding that the rest will be line ministries’ responsibilities such as the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to make-follow-ups.
Traditional Authority Kapondo hailed government for the intervention. n