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Heavy rains: Govt activates response teams

13 Jan, 2021 - 00:01 0 Views
Heavy rains: Govt activates response teams Four Chiredzi villagers, including a woman and her 11-month-old daughter who were last Thursday swept away while trying to cross the flooded Mutirikwi River are still missing amid fears they could have been eaten by crocodiles.

The Herald

Mukudzei Chingwere

Herald Reporter

The above normal rains, largely welcomed by farmers and others, have seen some roads damaged as is normal in better rainy seasons and some deaths, largely of people ignoring advice not to cross rivers in flood or flooded low-level bridges.

Government said it had activated its response machinery to respond to natural disasters as floods continued to threaten communities and key infrastructure in various parts of the country.

The Civil Protection Unit Department yesterday said the areas most affected by rain and flood damage were Gokwe South, Zaka, Buhera, Nyanga, Chipinge and Chimanimani.

But some houses in Harare, Mutare, Gweru, Beitbridge and Masvingo have seen flooding, largely as a result of blocked storm drains or drains not properly dug or laid out in new suburbs.

CPU director, Mr Nathan Nkomo described roads in Gokwe South, especially the route from Gokwe Centre to Defe, as impassable after being damaged by floods.

“The most affected area is Gokwe South, the major road there is really bad and it has been affected by the floods. We were talking with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to see how we can assist.”

“That road supports important economic activities including tourism,” said Mr Nkomo.

Gokwe North roads have also been hard hit. The road from Nembudziya to Kadoma has also not been spared.

Government said it had activated its response machinery to respond to natural disasters as floods continued to threaten communities and key infrastructure in various parts of the country. Most parts of the country have received more than 300mm of rainfall and more ranging from normal to above normal and this trend is expected up to March.

The CPU said it had not yet disbanded material mobilised to respond to the tropical depression Chalane and its teams were ready to attend to any eventualities, especially in rescuing people.

“We had not fully disbanded after mobilising to deal with Cyclone Chalane, and our teams are on the ground to deal with eventualities. Our structures are always activated to deal with eventualities during this time of the year. In areas like Muzarabani, Masvingo Province, Mashonaland West and Manicaland we have readied tractors and trailers for evacuations if the need arises,” he said.

Last week, the Air Force of Zimbabwe successfully rescued four members of the same family and three others who had been marooned on islands on Runde River.

In Gweru, six people are feared dead after their attempt to cross a flooded bridge ended with their car being swept away. Two bodies and the vehicle have since been recovered while the other four people are still missing and the river still rising. The CPU implored the public to heed messages from the Meteorological Services Department and follow safe practice.

The AFZ has been largely dependable in terms of rescuing people from very tight situations. In an earlier interview AFZ Director General Operations, Air Commodore George Ngundu, said their servicemen were always on call.

He said they were already on call to respond to the anticipated threat occasioned by the tropical depression Chalane and had deployed airpower in areas like Mutare and Chipinge.

Air Commodore Ngundu said their secondary role was aid in times of disasters and they were always ready to assist in such situations.

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