Peter Matambanadzo Senior Reporter
Government has appealed for US$20 million from the international community to urgently evacuate, relocate, shelter and provide safe water and other basic needs to 60 000 people in the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam flood basin in Chivi, Masvingo, who have been affected by floods.Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo made the appeal yesterday at a meeting with more than 20 diplomats, humanitarian organisations and senior Government officials.
“About 20 000 people within the dam basin are at high risk while another 40 000 downstream are at medium risk of flooding,” Dr Chombo said.
He thanked the Namibian and Zambian governments for pledging three helicopters each, and the International Organisation for Migration for complementing Government efforts by providing 707 tarpaulins, 200 standard non-food kits, 20 rolls of plastic sheeting for temporary toilets, 20 000 aqua tablets, 400 blankets, 400 mosquito nets and three 5 000-litre collapsible water tanks.
He said the IOM also provided a 75-seater bus to transport affected families to three relocation sites.
Dr Chombo thanked Zinwa, DDF, Action Faim and Care International for sourcing potable water using bowsers.
Government, he said urgently required at least US$660 000 for food, US$401 400 for tents, US$314 876 for non-food basics, US$230 000 for emergency medical supplies, and US$2,6 million for logistical support.
He said Government would need to construct six primary and two secondary schools for about US$9,8 million; and US$5,3 million for clinics, boreholes and dip tanks.
Dr Chombo said since Sunday, “only 36 families out of the targeted 2 230 had been moved” to relocation sites at Masangula, Chisase and Chingwizi.
He said at least two people have died in the floods and 49 others had been marooned.
The Masvingo provincial administrator’s office secured seven tractors, three from DDF and four from Tongaat Hulett, to assist.
“The Air Force of Zimbabwe is airlifting the remaining families that are marooned as well as monitoring the river status downstream and providing early warnings,” he said.
Dr Chombo said the Zimbabwe Republic Police Sub-Aqua Unit was on standby in Ngundu.
United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator Mr Alain Noudehou said the diplomatic community was committed to assisting Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe last week declared the flooding a state of disater.
In Mwenezi, a four-member delegation led by Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi visited Chingwizi, where nearly 200 families were relocated to, and said destruction of their homes was due to the unexpected heavy rains and not poor planning.
Dr Sekeramayi said President Mugabe had sent him to deliver a special message to the families and appealed to them to remain strong.
He also said the Civil Protection Unit would soon start relocating livestock left in the Tokwe-Mukosi flood basin.
Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said the plots they were being allocated were temporary as Government was working on an irrigation master plan for them to benefit from Tokwe-Mukosi Dam.
Companies and NGOs donated over 70 tonnes of mealie meal, beans, sugar and more than 1 200 tents.
Meanwhile, four people were marooned on Manyame River for three days as the water level keeps rising.
Kenny Tsingwindi (60) and David Mangazha (62) of Zvimba were rescued using a dinghy.
Police were late yesterday in frantic efforts to rescue another man who was marooned on an island between the old and new bridges in Chinhoyi.
Mashonaland West police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara said their Sub-Aqua Unit was trying to locate the man.
Another man has been missing since last week and his pair of trousers has been located.