Floods alert: Boarding schools travel suspended Mrs Tumisang Thabela

Maxwell Tapatapa Herald Reporter

PUPILS that intended to travel to their boarding schools in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces from today up to Sunday ahead of schools opening next week, will have to wait a little longer following a heavy rain and floods alert issued by the Department of Civil Protection and the Meteorological Services Department.

Schools open on Monday next week, with most boarding school learners expected to travel to their stations on Sunday as per tradition.

But following a heavy rain and floods alert, the Government has directed that learners must not travel to their boarding schools in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, as a precaution.

The heavy rains are forecast to start today ending on Sunday.

Last night, some parts of Harare experienced heavy rains and the situation is expected to worsen from today, hence the call by the Government to delay the travel arrangements for the learners in the selected areas.

President Mnangagwa has always reiterated that it is better to save lives since they cannot be restored once lost.

Both provinces, especially Manicaland, were battered by Cyclone Idai in March 2019.

Cyclone Idai killed hundreds of people mainly in Manicaland and reports indicate that some people might have been swept to the Indian ocean.

A letter dated January 5, 2023 written to provincial education directors by Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary, Mrs Tumisang Thabela, says in anticipation of the heavy rain, learners should suspend their journeys until after the heavy rain alert is over.

“The Civil Protection Unit has alerted of the potential imminent excess rainfall and between January 6 and 8, 2023, particularly in Manicaland Province: Mutare rural, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Buhera, and in Masvingo Province: Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Gutu, Bikita and Zaka districts.

“In view of this warning, boarding pupils are advised to travel after these dates. Be guided accordingly,” said Mrs Thabela.

In a statement on Wednesday, the MSD, in conjunction with the Department of Civil Protection, said localised heavy rain in excess of 50mm, and flash flooding in areas with saturated soils, wetlands, impervious grounds and along river basins, were expected from today until Sunday.

The statement said roofs may be blown off while trees could be brought down by strong winds and people should stay indoors during thunderstorms.

Unnecessary travel has also been discouraged during this period, and when travel cannot be postponed, then people must exercise caution on the roads and avoid crossing flooded rivers, either on foot or vehicles.

Government has since tasked relevant stakeholders and traditional leaders to get the flood warnings out to communities.

All Mashonaland provinces, Manicaland, parts of the Midlands and Masvingo are on special alert after warnings of heavy rainfall in excess of 65mm expected over 24 hours.

District civil protection committees countrywide have since been mobilised.

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