Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent—
Government yesterday launched an international humanitarian appeal following floods that affected nearly all parts of the country, killing 246 people. At least 128 people were injured, 1 576 marooned, while 1 985 were left homeless in floods that left a trail of destruction. The floods have resulted in 74 schools being damaged, 70 dams breached and five health institutions damaged.
The appeal for assistance comes after President Mugabe this week declared the floods a state of disaster as they have ravaged most parts of the country, with $100 million needed to repair road infrastructure.
Speaking on behalf of other line ministries yesterday, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said affected people were in dire need of assistance to rebuild their homes, rehabilitate social amenities as well as recover lost property and livelihoods.
As such, he said, gaps still existed, therefore interventions from different stakeholders were needed to assist the affected families.
“It is apparent that extraordinary response measures to alleviate suffering of citizens of this country in communal, resettlement and urban areas have to be intensified. The thrust of Government is to go beyond emergency response to ‘building back better in the post disaster recovery period’,” he said.
“I am therefore appealing to the development partners, private sector and general public, inclusive of those in the Diaspora, to rally with the Government to support the emergency relief programmes in line with policy, which requires that every citizen has a responsibility to avert and/or limit the effects of a disaster.
“There is an inadequate supply of tents, foodstuffs, drugs for the displaced people. There is need for blankets and clothing for the affected families as they are at risk of contracting pneumonia and acute respiratory infections. Girls and women need sanitary wear and school children need stationery and classrooms,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
The flood disaster, Minister Kasukuwere said, was to be managed by the Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management Committee under his chairmanship as well as Provincial and District Administrators.
He added that Government would be moving in most areas to continue with the assessment so that they have clear areas of engagements. Minister Kasukuwere said hydrological indications were that the rainfall season was expected to continue with 85 percent of dams in the country already being full and spilling.
Chances of river banks bursting were high.
To date, Minister Kasukuwere said, there have been heavy rain falls, which have surpassed all previous years as Rupike, which is 70km from Masvingo received 224 millimetres, Bikita District received 200 millimetres and Zaka received 196 millimetres in 24 hours.
“The 2016-2017 La-Nina season is in contradiction to the 2016/16 seasoned characterised by the El-Nino phenomenon. This entails an outstanding shift from a drought condition to an excessively wet situation. By mid-February 2017, most areas in the country had received above normal rainfall, and the ground was already saturated,” he said.
The worst affected areas include Tsholotsho, Lupane, Nkayi, Binga, Umguza and Hwange urban in Matabeleland North Province where a total of 859 people in Tsholotsho were left homeless and are currently in a transit camp with an additional 100 households being at risk.
In Chitungwiza, Old St Mary’s suburb, nine aged houses collapsed and more than 2 500 houses are at risk of collapsing.
In Harare’s Mabvuku suburb, about 500 aged houses are at risk of collapsing with Mbare, Epworth, Waterfalls, Hopley and Budiriro also affected.
Matabeleland South Province’s affected areas are Matobo, Umzingwane, Bulilima, Insiza, Beitbridge and Gwanda
In Midlands Province the worst affected areas are Gokwe North and South, and Mberengwa; while in Masvingo Province it is Chivi, Mwenezi, Chiredzi, Masvingo rural and Bikita.
Mashonaland West Province’s affected areas are Kariba, Zvimba and Hurungwe, while in Manicaland, it is Mutare rural, Mutasa, Buhera, Chipinge and Chimanimani.
In Mashonaland Central Province, Guruve and Mt Darwin have been affected while in Mashonaland East Province it is Mutoko and Marondera Rural District.
In Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Mahatshula, Four Winds, Kingsdale, Emganwini, Nketa 8 and Cowdray Park have been affected.
United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Zimbabwe Bishow Parajuli, said it was a sad development, which required partners to join in and support the Government.
He said they have heeded the appeal and will see how they would mobilise resources.
“It is a sad development, after working hard responding to the effects of drought as now, the same people are now suffering because of excessive floods. UN stands committed in working with partners to support. We have demonstrated great partnership and l am hoping we will respond to the needs of the people,” he said.
Line Ministers present were Health and Child Care Minister Cde David Parirenyatwa; Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo, and his secretary Mr Munesu Munodawafa; Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi; Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri; Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Tapiwa Matangaidze; Local Government Public Works and National Housing secretary Engineer George Mlilo; Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Colonel (Retired) Christian Katsande; humanitarian partners; principal directors and different stakeholders.