Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
Kariba District is set to get a weather station and develop early warning systems for disaster preparedness and management under a $500 000 grant from the World Bank.
The $500 000 grant from the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and support from the Danish Red Cross is expected to capacitate local communities in Kariba to develop coping mechanisms to deal with emergencies and disasters.
It also seeks to trigger community initiated climate change mitigation measures.
Most villagers in the flood prone areas around Lake Kariba survive through fishing and were often caught off guard by waves and strong winds while carrying out their activities on the Lake.
Speaking at the launch of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation programme in Kariba on Wednesday, Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Faber Chidarikire said the programme would help build safer and resilient communities.
“The new project we announce here is anchored on three key objectives which are to work directly with the vulnerable and affected people and to provide them with adequate knowledge in relation to their local risks,” said Minister Chidarikire.
“It also seeks to inspire them (local communities) to find their own solutions to manage hazards and reduce exposure and vulnerability, in close dialogue and co-ordination with local government and other key local stakeholders.”
The programme will be implemented by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and it will cover areas such as Gache Gache, Mola, Negande and Chalala.
Minister Chidarikire hailed the programme, saying community involvement and the programme management process will provide useful information for future Government programmes.
The programme will bring together the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, the Department of Civil Protection, the Meteorological Services Department, the Zambezi Watercourse Commission and the Red Cross.
ZRCS secretary-general Mr Maxwell Phiri hailed the Government for providing unhindered humanitarian space.
“It is through such working together that we can make Zimbabwe a better place for all,” he said.
“On behalf of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, I would like to thank the Government of Zimbabwe for the unlimited humanitarian space we continue to enjoy.”
Mr Phiri said the people-centred programming will champion community owned programmes that are not only focused on emergencies, but development.
It will see use and provision of SMS messaging facilities to disseminate information on disaster in and around Lake Kariba.
Radio communication will also be provided to circumvent the poor roads and long distances which hinder flow of information.
The weather station will provide timely weather forecast to warn people not to get onto the lake when there is a possibility of bad weather. Kariba district is experiencing some of the worst effects of climate change characterised by high temperatures and low rainfall.
The programme will also seek to reduce water borne diseases.