Monday, December 26, 2005

Thousands still without shelter

KILLARNEY, ZIMBABWE - Six months after the government tore down her house, Sifelani Lunga lies sweating in a dirt-floored shack. Just coming back has made her a fugitive.
Like thousands of people dumped in rural areas after the government razed squatter shacks and street stalls, she crept back to the remains of this settlement outside Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo, because she could not survive in the countryside.
As the Zimbabwe government and United Nations argue about providing shelter for the people who have been thrown out of their homes, thousands have no secure refuge and live in fear of police raids.

....Mugabe told Egeland, "We are not a tents people ... We believe in houses," presidential spokesman George Charamba reported to the state-owned Herald newspaper.....

Zimbabwe announced a massive housing-construction plan in the aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, but, by December, a few hundred houses had been built, and the program had ground to a halt. Human Rights Watch said the program was unaffordable to the vast majority of displaced people because it required proof of regular salary and payment of a deposit.
When Lunga, a 43-year-old widow with HIV, arrived in the village she'd been exiled to, she found no food or clinic. She struggled back to the ruins of Killarney, along with hundreds of others, but she has no money for transport to Bulawayo clinics or churches where food is handed out, and she is too ill to walk the nearly two hours there.
She lay curled on a ragged blanket on the ground in a smoky, leaking hut. She had a fever and had been vomiting for three days and had not seen a doctor since the evictions last summer.

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