Govt fights worst flooding in years

More than 10 people died while school, hospitals, toilets and bridges have been destroyed by the rains that pounded the country in the last few days. This picture collage shows (above left) Piriviri Bridge that connects Hurungwe and Makonde Districts, which was destroyed by floods, and on the right, part of the railway line linking Chinhoyi and Mhangura was damaged by floods near Lions Den recently, cutting supplies of coal and other essential commodities transported by rail to farmers and other businesses in Mhangura area. - Pictures by Tawanda Mudimu

More than 10 people died while school, hospitals, toilets and bridges have been destroyed by the rains that pounded the country in the last few days. This picture collage shows (above left) Piriviri Bridge that connects Hurungwe and Makonde Districts, which was destroyed by floods, and on the right, part of the railway line linking Chinhoyi and Mhangura was damaged by floods near Lions Den recently, cutting supplies of coal and other essential commodities transported by rail to farmers and other businesses in Mhangura area. – Pictures by Tawanda Mudimu

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A Cabinet Committee on Civil Protection will meet early next week to assess the requirements of flood victims following heavy rains that destroyed at least 2 000 homes and left thousands of people homeless.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday described the disaster as the “worst in many years” but assured the nation that Government was on top of the situation despite a lack of adequate resources.

More than 10 people died while school, hospitals, toilets and bridges have been destroyed by the rains that pounded the country in the last few days.

The most affected provinces, according to Minister Chombo, are Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Midlands, Harare, Masvingo and Manicaland.

Minister Chombo said most of the families were in need of food, blankets, tents, clothes, aqua tablets and cement to rebuild stronger structures.

“It is unfortunate that the magnitude of this disaster has claimed people’s lives but the Government and its partners have been on top of the situation,” Minister Chombo said.

“We could not completely provide what is needed in all areas but the Civil Protection Unit through its district provincial committees has responded well. There are shortages of resources but the situation has been managed.

“A Cabinet committee, which I chair, will receive reports next week from CPU teams that are carrying out assessments countrywide for Government to have a clear picture and know the actual damage and requirements in terms of funds and resources.”

Co-operating partners such as Red Cross, World Vision and the International Organisation for Migration, have moved in providing assistance in most provinces.

Minister Chombo said in Mbire 215 people were displaced after their houses were damaged while 50 toilets were demolished by the heavy rains soon after Christmas.

A school and a clinic were also destroyed.

He said a number of people were trapped in Muzarabani and sought refuge in trees and the evacuation exercises were being carried out.

“About 167 homes were affected in Muzarabani while in Mt Darwin 276 homesteads were damaged by the floods. The provincial Civil Protection Unit has visited the areas together with officials from World Vision and local authorities. The Department of Social Services will distribute the 50 bales of clothing that have been sourced.”

Local people have also donated maize with 20 tonnes coming from the Department of Social Welfare.

Bindura University of Science and Technology also lost property worth thousands of dollars after being hit by the flash floods.

Minister Chombo said in Mashonaland West, Mhondoro-Ngezi and Sandringham areas saw buildings being destroyed while in Makonde five homesteads were damaged.

“Temporary shelter and food items have been provided while in Zvimba 21 households were damaged and six of them are in need of urgent assistance. Food and tents have been provided while some cement has come from well-wishers,” he said.

“In Hurungwe, 20 families have had their homes damaged while crops have been washed away but assistance has been rendered to the affected areas.”

He said a boy was swept away in Kariba and a search was underway.

“In Mashonaland East, Hungwe Dam in Ward 7 was overflowing and Zinwa has been ordered to take measures and ensure there are no outbursts,” the minister said.

“In Murehwa two people who had gone fishing at Nyangui Dam were marooned and the Sub Aqua Unit was contacted to assist while in Goromonzi one person was swept away and has not been recovered.

“In Mutoko, some roads were seriously damaged to the extent of becoming impassable. The extentt of the damage is still being assessed.”

Harare has not been spared with areas such as Chitungwiza, Hopley, Epworth and Mbare being affected.

“Fifty-one households are in need of food, water containers and blankets in Chitungwiza but Red Cross in conjunction with the Government departments has provided some tents, blankets and food,” Minister Chombo said.

“Another 500 houses were damaged in Hopley while in Epworth 221 houses were destroyed and had their roofs ripped off. They need plastics to temporarily cover those roofs. In Mbare 36 houses had their roofs ripped off and in Borrowdale 17 temporary structures were destroyed, while in Dzivarasekwa property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed.”

He said in the Midlands some roads and bridges had been swept away while Mureya Mission Hospital was inaccessible from the main road.

Repairs were already being done.

In Masvingo 10 households were affected and their walls collapsed while all dams in Manicaland were already full and Zinwa had been requested to open floodgates.

A clinic in Chipinge was heavily damaged.

Minister Chombo said while measures were being taken to bring the situation back to normal, people should remain alert and vigilant.

“As schools open parents and teachers should see to it that no child crosses a river on his or her own to avoid more deaths,” he said.

 

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