Stranded National University of Science and Technology (Nust) students have resorted to begging for food as they are stuck in Bulawayo.
The government recently imposed travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic leaving students stuck in the second-largest city.
The university’s student representative council (SRC) has since launched a campaign aimed at seeking food donations for the stranded students.
Nust SRC legal and constitutional affairs minister, Caleb Ncube told Southern Eye that the stranded students were starving. Ncube said:
Our fellow Nust students in Bulawayo, who did not manage to go home during the lockdown period, are in need of food aid. The pandemic’s devastating effects on the economy have resulted in a severe and sustained level of need in charitable food support.
Currently, there are students that do not have access to basic day-to-day requirements.
There are also people who have excess food such that if they donate it can solve many problems.
A student who spoke to Southern Eye said they were finding it difficult to survive outside the campus as they needed more than US$70 per month. A student who refused to be named said:
We have to buy groceries and data bundles for our online lessons, and so we are struggling.
We are appealing for help, in terms of donations for food, and right now our SRC has managed to get a few food hampers from well-wishers.
Nust spokesperson Thabani Mpofu said the university was yet to receive complaints of students being stranded and as all students are now back home. Mpofu said:
There is no way our students are struggling.
What we know is that currently the university is closed and students are doing their online classes in the comfort of their homes.
He added that the lockdown was introduced when examinations had been suspended.