Rumbidzayi Zinyuke and Nyore Madzianike
GOVERNMENT has made headway in the reconstruction of bridges and creation of detours in Chimanimani and Chipinge to enable food distribution vehicles to pass through.
Over 13 roads and bridges are expected to be reconstructed and repaired at an estimated cost of $20 million.
Giving a full status update on Friday, Manicaland Provincial Administrator Mr Edgars Seenza said the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development had so far contracted two companies to carry out rehabilitation works.
“We are looking at roads that are critical to move food and non-food items to our people,” he said.
“We have asked the Ministry of Transport to suspend operations on other roads and concentrate on these critical roads so that we are able to reach the communities.”
Mr Seenza said JR Goddard (Pvt) Limited had been contracted to work on various sections of the Wengezi-Chimanimani Road and so far, a 11km stretch from Heatfield Primary School to Peacock had been completed.
He said the completion of the detour was being delayed by rains.
Mr Seenza said two detour roads at Mhandarume and Nyahodi bridges had already been opened to traffic while the one at Lydia Chimonyo was still under construction.
“Along the Wengezi-Chimanimani Road, there are a number of bridges that were damaged and they (contractors) are preparing detour roads and some have been completed at Umvumvumvu, Lydia Chimonyo and at Nyahodi where backfilling of 13 out of 16 layers has been done,” he said.
He said a Chinese company had been contracted to work on the Skyline-Charter-Ngangu Road section where realignment of the road and clearing of debris were being carried out.
Mr Seenza said the company was working on Nyahodi Bridge and had promised that work would be completed within two days if it does not rain.
Other routes that the contractors are working on include Chipinge-Paidamoyo-Kopa, Nyahode-Gata-Mutakura and the Cashel-Chikukwa roads.
Mr Seenza said the District Development Fund (DDF) had been assigned to work on the 45km Muuyuweburi-Muroti Road.
DDF is working on the reconstruction of Mhakwe Bridge, but the road is now accessible via a detour.
A delegation of 18 chiefs drawn from the Zimbabwe Chiefs’ Council (ZCC) last Friday visited areas affected by Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani.
ZCC president Chief Fortune Charumbira headed the delegation which also met some of the chiefs whose subjects and communities were hit by the cyclone.
They met and consoled Chief Muusha, Chief Ndima whose area was the most hit, Chief Mapungwana and acting Chief Mutambara.
“We came to have an appreciation of the disaster and at the same time console our counterparts whose subjects have been affected by the disaster,” said Chief Charumbira.
“This kind of disaster has never been witnessed before in the history of this area.
“People are expecting answers and explanations from the chiefs as they are the owners of the land. We will sit down as chiefs and try to share notes on how best our counterparts could rehabilitate families and their communities.”
Manicaland provincial chief’s council chairperson Chief Makumbe said there was need for replanning.
“As leaders of the nation, we need to know where to properly settle people,” he said.
“We have to look at the environment and see if there are no threats of disaster in future.”
On Saturday, Deputy Chief Secretary (Communications) Mr George Charamba said Chimanimani needed a multi-faceted rehabilitation programme to repair the lives and livelihoods of communities affected by the cyclone.
Mr Charamba had accompanied Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, Public Service Commission chairperson Dr Vincent Hungwe and Government departments’ permanent secretaries who visited Manicaland.
“We came here in support of the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet,” he said.
“As you are aware, he stands at the apex of the administration.
“The politicians have shown the direction, they have been here, they had an appreciation of the destruction that has happened in this part of Zimbabwe and what now needs to follow is a rehabilitation programme which is multi-faceted.
“It has to do with repairing lives and livelihoods, it has to do with socio-psycho support, and it has to do with infrastructure rehabilitation considering that quite a number of communities have been cut from a larger society.
“Essentially, we have come here to get an appreciation in situ of the situation and the work that has been done.”