They told the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Cde Nyasha Chikwinya that chaos surrounded the distribution of donations to the displaced. They begged the minister to distribute sanitarywear, also called dignity packs, alleging they would not receive the donations if she left.
Cde Chikwinya together with Matabeleland North provincial administrator Ms Latiso Dlamini and officials from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had to distribute the dignity kits to all the women and girls before leaving Sipepa on Friday.
The 450 kits availed by the UNFPA were made up of a pack with sanitary pads, a pair of panties, a towel, bathing soap, toothbrush and toothpaste meant to address women’s needs who said they left behind their panties in their destroyed homes.
“I want to assure you that these kits which must restore dignity will be fairly distributed to you all. We would like to thank partners like UNFPA who thought of the plight of women during this trying time,” said Cde Chikwinya.
“As Government we are working flat out to restore the situation and we urge everyone to bear with us. I take this time to thank the resident health practitioners, non-government organisations who are helping out.”
Cde Chikwinya related painful experiences during the armed struggle when no one cared enough to remember that sanitary pads were a necessity for female combatants.
“I am happy that times are changing and that for once some people care about women’s experiences and needs. During the armed struggle we would improvise and use anything during our cycles,” said the emotional Cde Chikwinya.
“Some of those who were affected by the floods are old people and they need to go back to their normal lives. We will bring on board the Civil Protection Unit and some of our partners,” she said.
The minister said the Government would continue to monitor the situation in Tsholotsho.
One of the victims Ms Abigail Mhlanga said the food served at the camp was too little to sustain them.
“For breakfast we have a cup of porridge then plain rice and tea for lunch. For supper we have isitshwala and greens or chunks but we are always hungry.
“Firstly the meals are not nutritious and we wish we were home where we were guaranteed of filling meals,” she said.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere recently said as a long term solution, the Government was working on modalities to relocate the victims to high ground to avert future flood disasters. About 234 families are set to be moved soon.