By Tatenda Chitagu

THOUSANDS of villagers who were evacuated from the flooding Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Chivi district and were resettled at Chingwizi in the vast Nuanetsi Ranch, have deserted the area due to lack of social amenities, Southern Eye has learnt.

The villagers were evacuated when floods flattened the basin in February 2014.

They were initially housed at Chingwizi transit camp in Nuanetsi Ranch for six months before they were forcibly moved further down and allocated one-hectare plots.

Today, seven years down the line, the area still does not have basic social amenities such as water, modern schools and health facilities.

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Some villagers are still living in makeshift shelters – a factor which has forced many to return to their original villages in Chivi and Chiredzi.

“They could not continue like this. Some of us are still there because we do not have an option, otherwise, we could also have joined them,” one of the villagers said.

Local legislator, Joosby Omar (Zanu PF) confirmed the development, but said the villagers that left would return once the government allocated them sugarcane out-grower plots that would be irrigated by water from the dam when the masterplan is complete.

“When they got their compensation money, some relocated and built homesteads elsewhere. There are gaps created by those that left and the remaining villagers are capitalising on that.

“The people cannot survive on one-hectare plots because they have been urbanised. Some lost cattle because of lack of grazing land, yet livestock is their means of survival. But government is working on allocating them 35-hectare irrigation plots each so that they can be sugarcane out-growers,” Omar said.