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Chingwizi Residents Protest Govt's Attempt to Move Clinic

A pile of personal property left in the open at the Chingwizi transit camp. Hundreds of families lost their property during their relocation to the camp. (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

Hundreds of villagers at the Chingwizi flood victims’ camp on Friday demonstrated against the government’s attempt to move a local clinic to a proposed new resettlement area.

The government has also been under fire for its failure to provide adequate medical care for displaced families relocated to the Chingwizi section of the Nuanetsi Ranch in the aftermath of flooding fears at the Tokwe Murkosi dam's basin.

Villagers at the holding camp, which houses an estimated 18 000 people, were irked by the government’s move to remove the clinic, seeing it as punishment for their refusal to relocate to Nuanetsi.

The camp has a makeshift clinic housed in a tent and according to residents it is overwhelmed by the huge numbers of patients seeking attention and lacks the capacity to deal with emergency cases.

One of the protestors, Douglas Chatikobo, told VOA Studio 7 that the camp’s residents resorted to protests because the government has continued to ignore their grievances, which include relocation to a new place after compensation and the provision of basic amenities.

Most families are also struggling with food shortages following heavy rains that destroyed their homes and livelihoods.

The government needs about 156 thousand tonnes of maize-meal every month to feed the more than 20,000 families displaced by floods in the Tokwe-Mukosi area in February.