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Conditions for Displaced in Harare Continue to Worsen

Despite assurances by the Zimbabwe government that it is attending to the needs of the many thousands of people displaced by its demolition of housing in what it says is an urban cleanup operation, the plight of the displaced in Harare and elsewhere to deteriorate as authorities fail to provide accommodations.

A humanitarian source familiar with the situation at Caledonia Farm outside Harare told VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that children there must walk long distances to school and many children have stopped going at all. The source was speaking on condition that neither he nor his organization be identified.

He said there are no sanitation facilities at Caledonia Farm and frequent water shutoffs, and that most of the people on the farm are sleeping in the open. He said he had heard that a young girl was sexually assaulted by a policeman but added that he was unable to confirm this information.

Similar conditions were reported in the south of the country where churches have mobilized to assist homeless families. About 3,000 people, mostly from the Ngozi and Killarney squatter settlements near Bulawayo, were living in churches in and around Zimbabwe’s second largest city and capital of Ndebeleland.

Reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke about conditions with Communications Coordinator Useni Sibanda of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe.