TSHOLOTSHO, ZIMBABWE, March 28 (Xinhua) -- For 65-year-old Elizabeth Nyoni, bitter emotions aroused whenever she pondered how she would rebuild her life after recent floods destroyed her homestead, livestock and property.
Sitting in a tent with five other grannies at Sipepa transit camp, Nyoni represents the hardest-hit group by the Cyclone Dineo in February.
She is among the 859 people who are accommodated at Sipepa in Tsholotsho, 200 km north west of the second largest city of Bulawayo, after Dineo induced-floods destroyed their mainly pole and mud houses.
Nyoni said her life had been very difficult after she lost her husband and all her five children. She is looking after the grandchildren and stayed with five of them at the transit camp.
"Now, the floods have worsened my situation as I have lost the only home that I had as well as livestock. I do not know how I will be able to look after my grandchildren," she said.
Bessi Ndlovu, 68, who is staying with her eight grandchildren at the transit camp, said she did not know how she would rebuild life destroyed by flood.
"I am now old and no longer have the strength to rebuild. I appeal to our government and donors to help us to rebuild our homesteads," she said.
Studying at Lupane University in Matabeleland North Province, 20-year-old Lorraine Nkala will have to join her mother at the transit camp when school closes in May.
Her family house was destroyed by the floods and her mother, Silindile Nkala, 51, is staying at the camp where living conditions are poor.
Silindile Nkala said she had not only lost a homestead and property, but a grocery shop that was her source of livelihood.
"As I sit here, my greatest worry is losing that grocery shop. We earned money from the shop for our family upkeep and now I do not know how I will be able to pay school fees for my daughter at university," she said.
Sixty-seven year-old Jesilina Masuku, staying with her nine grandchildren at the transit camp, has only one request.
"My appeal is for the government to urgently relocate us to an identified new site that is safe from floods. While we appreciate the assistance that has been rendered to us by government, donors and well-wishers so far, we feel this camp is becoming a heath time bomb due to poor living conditions," she said.
Masuku's sentiments were echoed by many flood victims at the transit camp.
The victims interviewed by Xinhua said they could no longer wait to be relocated as they feared disease outbreaks and also wanted to be free so they could re-start normal lives.
The flood victims started to settle at the camp on February 19 after being airlifted from their flooded homes, and are expected to stay there until mid May.
The government has promised to permanently relocate 298 households to higher ground approximately 10 km from the flood-prone area at an estimated cost of 3.6 million U.S. dollars.
"We feel restricted in this camp. The food that we are getting is not enough, we don't have enough clothes and blankets and the communal toilets we are using are dirty. Most children are also now suffering from diarrhea," said Masuku.
Masuku also had an appeal to the Chinese government to assist with building homesteads for flood victims, hailing China's efficient low-cost house construction technologies.
Poor living conditions are palpable at the transit camp, where as many as 25 people from several families are living in one small tent.
Women and children appear to have been the worst affected. In one case, Getrude Sibanda, 57, had to leave her husband and children in Hurungwe more than 200 km away to come and stay with her 81-year-old injured mother at the transit camp.
Sibanda's mother, after being rescued 12 hours after the house in which she was sleeping collapsed on her, was diagnosed with mental problems.
"I am having problems getting medication for my mother. The doctors confirmed that she suffered some brain damage and I can't get her medication at Sipepa Clinic," she said.
There is not only a shortage of tents for accommodation but of medicines at the nearby Sipepa Clinic, said Never Nkomo, a 50 year-old grandmother who was now plagued by frequent nightmares after the horrific experience of the floods.
According to the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), there is need to support health and nutrition for families who lost their food stuffs in the district. It added that the affected children also need micro nutrients to prevent malnutrition.
"There is a shortage of essential drugs due to increased demand especially in Tsholotsho," the CPU said, adding there is potential for the outbreak of common diarrheal, dysentery, typhoid and cholera in Tsholotsho and other flood-hit areas.
To ensure school children have uninterrupted access to education, the government with the assistance of UNICEF has erected a makeshift primary school.
Voluntary organization Childline Zimbabwe has also moved onto the camp site where it has established a play center for the children to keep them busy. The center also provides counseling and support services to the children, according to the organization's social worker and counselor Duduzile Moyo.
For the families that were lucky to remain with a few livestock, their men have to stay in the village to look after the livestock.
Tsholotsho district is one of the areas worst affected by the Dineo-induced floods that hit mostly southern parts of Zimbabwe in February.
The heavy rains received in Zimbabwe since January have left 271 people dead, 128 injured and nearly 2,000 homeless.
According to the Civil Protection Unit, nearly 2,600 homesteads were also damaged in varying degrees. Many roads, schools, health and water infrastructure were also destroyed.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority has said over 100,000 people are without safe drinking water following the damage to water supply infrastructure.
President Robert Mugabe on March 2 declared the floods to be a national disaster, leading to the launching of a domestic and international appeal for nearly 189 million dollars to help victims and repair infrastructure.
The Chinese government has announced that it will donate 1 million U.S. dollars in cash transfer to help the flood victims.