Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Government has identified land to relocate people who were displaced by Cyclone Idai and those who might still be in areas prone to natural disasters, President Mnangagwa has said.
He was speaking in Mutare after a briefing with the provincial Department of Civil Protection officials yesterday.
The President is here to meet 13 chiefs from Chimanimani and Chipinge, and he said he will consult them before the relocation of their people to other areas.
“I am grateful for the commitment and perseverance that has been exhibited towards restoring disrupted lives of our communities which were affected by Cyclone Idai,” he said.
“I am advised that land has been identified for people who lost their homes to be moved elsewhere, where it is safe and not prone to natural disasters such as cyclones.
“Government is mobilising resources to construct houses for them. The private sector has also pledged to support this initiative.”
President Mnangagwa said the meeting with chiefs was a way of atoning for not consulting with them on various issues that might have arisen in response to the disaster.
“We have also come back to meet with traditional leaders in Chimanimani and Chipinge.
“As the leadership, we realised that when the disaster occurred, we all focused on helping those affected.
“We proceeded to bury the dead where need-be and remove those whom we considered to be in unsafe areas. We also planned to move people to other places with the will to mitigate any further attacks from cyclones.
“But in doing this, we overlooked the need to inform the chiefs that this is what we are doing. We are moving people from places that they have
traditionally belonged, where their ancestors are. We should make sure we follow tradition. We should not trample on people’s traditions.”
President Mnangagwa said he would also hold meetings with traditional leaders from Masvingo and Mashonaland East whose areas were affected by the cyclone.
He encouraged those involved in rehabilitation works in the affected areas to remain resolute to ensure that normalcy returns as soon as possible.
“We are not through yet; we still have a lot of work to do,” said President Mnangagwa. “The task remains to continue to rebuild schools, bridges, hospitals and dams. Our people across the board continue to give moral and material support in an endeavour to restore normalcy, not only to Manicaland, but to Masvingo as well as Mashonaland East.”
President Mnangagwa commended corporates and non-governmental organisations that had pledged to assist in the reconstruction of various infrastructure in the disaster-hit areas.
“We want to see all children in schools when the second term begins,” he said. “Winter is coming, we don’t want any families to be in the open. We have enough tents for everyone. No family should suffer the cold outside.”
President Mnangagwa said the Ministry of Home Affairs would provide identity documents to all those who had lost them.
“We have people who lost all identification, medical records and medications,” he said. “This should be addressed. People should be grouped in their communities and we will have the Ministry of Home Affairs come to them. They should get these documents free of charge.”
Cyclone Idai devastated areas in Chimanimani and Chipinge in Manicaland and some in Masvingo and Mashonaland East in March, leaving hundreds dead and hundreds others missing.
The cyclone destroyed infrastructure like roads, bridges, homes, schools and other institutions in the affected areas, resulting in the survivors being left stranded.