GOVERNMENT has pressed the panic button after heavy rains washed away most of the country’s roads and destroyed several bridges, leaving many communities cut off from the rest of the country.
Source: Govt panics as Cyclone Dineo washes away bridges – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 2, 2017
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Transport minister Jorum Gumbo yesterday said in the wake of the havoc brought about by heavy rains induced by Cyclone Dineo, the government was now trying to raise $100 million through a special committee chaired by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to ensure that roads and bridges are repaired.
The committee which also includes Gumbo, the Office of the President and Cabinet, Local Government ministry, District Development Fund and Zinara has so far raised $14,5 million as the government battles to bring back connectivity on the road network.
Main targets include bridges washed away by floods among them Nkankezi Bridge along Zvishavane-Mbalabala Road, Jeke Bridge along Danga-Dolo Road, Nuanetsi Bridge along Mberengwa-West Nicholson Road, among others.
“The obtaining situation is not acceptable, where people have been cut off from hospitals and the rest of the country, if one person wants to travel a distance of 100km, they are forced to go round and travel nearly 1 000km just to reach their destination because the bridge was swept away,” he said.
Gumbo said after completing the urgent works of repairing bridges, the committee will also look into the rehabilitation of urban roads, particularly in Harare, where potholes have become a menace to motorists.
“The national road repair work will be done and funded in three stages as follows, emergency works, preventative works and rehabilitation or reconstruction works. Road authorities have commenced on the first phase of the urgent and emergency works and will continue until all emergencies have been addressed,” Gumbo said.
Government has in the past struggled to repair bridges swept away by the rains. Some bridges are yet to be repaired 15 years after Cyclone Eline hit Zimbabwe.