Zim ready to handle El Nino effects Director of the Department of Civil Protection, Mr Nathan Nkomo

Wallace Ruzvidzo Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE is on top of the ensuing El Nino-induced drought as the Second Republic started preparing, as well as implementing a raft of mitigatory measures when the adverse weather phenomenon was initially forecast in June.

This comes after President Mnangagwa has in recent times called for a culture of preparedness and decisiveness in dealing with issues such as drought and diseases to avert disastrous consequences.

This year, most parts of the country have been experiencing acute dry spells that have been threatening planting prospects for those who heavily rely on rain-fed agriculture, but the Department of Civil Protection chief director Mr Nathan Nkomo said they are adequately prepared for the El Nino-induced drought.

Consequently, he said the department is working closely with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development and other stakeholders to ensure Zimbabweans are cushioned from the drought.

“El Nino forecast was made wayback in June and now it’s becoming real that is why you find every sector gearing for the eventuality and we are happy that this is the time when the sectors will assist us in coming up with a humanitarian response plan based on our contingency plan.

“From a disaster risk management point of view the plan is in place and that is why you find our Ministry of Agriculture which has a two-pronged law in terms of food security and water provision they are working out some strategies,” he said.

Mr Nkomo said the department was satisfied with the support rendered by various sectors, as well as with the progress being made in the preparations.

“Disasters by their nature are multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral so once various sectors get in to motion of trying to address some of these issues we are so happy as the coordinator. Ours is to coordinate and to cause people to do certain things,” he said.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Professor Obert Jiri told The Herald yesterday that the Second Republic was confident that measures being implemented would go a long way in alleviating the drought effects.

He said the 70 000 hectares set to be put under irrigated land will be planted by the end of the summer cropping season.

“Social services support is the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Welfare ours is production and by the end of the planting season we should have put the targeted 70 000 hectares,” he said.

Government had set in motion plans to complete a total of 71 small dams and weirs before the end of the year, but the project was affected by some financial constraints.

However, many suitable sites for the construction of small dams have been identified.

Manicaland is leading in the construction of small dams and weirs, having completed seven of the targeted 27.

Masvingo province has so far constructed six against a target of 12, while Matabeleland South has a 100 percent record after completing their target of four small dams.

Midlands and Mashonaland West have completed only two apiece, while Mashonaland East and Central provinces are yet to construct any.

Everywhere a dam is built, Government makes sure that a community garden is established and turned over to the locals, with ward-based extension officers closely monitoring day-to-day operations.

Within the community gardens, horticultural operations are carried out, while the small dam is also stocked with tilapia fingerlings.

Construction of small dams and weirs is meant to complement the 12 major dams under construction countrywide, with some having already been commissioned by President Mnangagwa.

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