NKURENKURU - A family of six was left homeless on Saturday evening after an aggressive herd of elephants destroyed their home and everything in it at Simwege village in the Mpungu constituency.
Homeowner Joaquina Matumbu said she went to fetch water and left the children in the hut. On her way back home from the water point, she noticed heavy dust around her homestead and suspected it was the marauding wild animals as this was not the first time the elephants had come to their place during the 10 months they have been residing there.
“The elephants were here earlier this year but luckily destroyed nothing as they just roamed around the homestead and passed by,” she said.
Before Matumbu reached the hut, the children, fortunately, managed to escape free of any injury and ran to the neighbour’s house.
She narrated that she was so helpless that all she could do was to scream and cry for help.
The neighbours ran to her and took her to their home for shelter, where they are temporarily accommodated. However, the challenge is that they do not have food and other necessities as it was all destroyed.
“We’ve lost our two bags of mahangu, and the food we’ve recently received from the drought relief programme, which included dry kidney beans, five bags of maize flour and cooking oil,” Matumbu said.
“I’m seeking assistance from the government or any Good Samaritan who can assist me with food as I’m left with nothing,” she further pleaded.
Monica Ndaitira, a resident of the same village said that after the elephants had destroyed Matumbu’s hut, they proceeded to the water point where residents had already been proactive by setting up fire and other measures to scare the elephants away. This however made the elephants very aggressive as their aim was to probably get food and water.
Ndaitira raised concern that the villagers are scared of losing their water points as the elephants in an attempt to get water always destroy the water points.
“We are scared because, whenever these wild animals come out in search of water, they always destroy the water points after drinking. And if they happen not to get water on that day, they uproot the water pipes from the ground thinking maybe they will get water,” she complained.
“This is costly for us villagers as after the damage, we have to rebuild our water points again and it takes time to acquire the equipment,” Ndaitira added.
Ndaitira appeals to the government to relocate the elephants in the area as they fear for their lives.
They reported the matter to the environment ministry and the officials were at the house to do observations and promised to revert to them after consultations.
The councillor of the Mpungu constituency, Titus Shiudifonya, confirmed that he is aware of the human-wildlife conflict.
The councillor said the jumbos have destroyed water points several times at Simwege and Nyege villages. He further confirmed that this specific incident in question is currently being handled.
He, however, request the line ministry to mitigate the community when something like this happens as they claim that, they do not provide any funds when something of this nature happens according to their policy.