HC Deb 24 November 1959 vol 614 cc192-3
19. Mr. J. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a progress report on the conditions of the 29,000 Tonga tribesmen recently moved from the Kariba site and resettled by the Northern Rhodesian Government; how many of these Africans have died during or since this transfer; and what were the reasons for their deaths.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The resettlement of the Africans mentioned by the hon. Member was completed by June of this year.

The figures of normal deaths in the resettlement areas are not available. In the Lusitu resettlement area two exceptional outbreaks of bacillary dysentery occurred in late 1958 and early 1959, causing the deaths of sixty-one people among a population of 6,000. These outbreaks were quickly dealt with by the medical authorities and free issues of milk were made to the children to help combat the disease.

Since the beginning of September, thirty-seven women and children have died in five villages owing to the consumption of a vegetable poison, probably solamine which is derived from a form of deadly nightshade. The manner in which it was taken has not been definitely established but it is being urgently investigated.

In other areas, 21,000 have settled down. Fishing has started on a scale which has exceeded expectations and cooperative societies have been established.

Mr. Hynd

Is the Colonial Secretary satisfied that the rather more encouraging reports we have lately had that the situation has been dealt with in a new spirit of co-operation amongst the transferred tribesmen are adequately substantiated, and will he do everything possible to encourage that spirit?

Mr. Macleod

Yes, I certainly shall. It is a very good spirit.

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