Source: ZDF to assist cyclone ravaged areas | The Herald March 4, 2017
Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Defence Forces will be deployed to assist communities that were affected by Cyclone Dineo which saw bridges being swept away, in the process cutting communities from major services such as hospitals, clinics and safe water. Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi said this after touring some of the most affected areas in Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo provinces yesterday.
Minister Sekeramayi was accompanying Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and representatives from the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organisations during the tour of Nkankezi River Bridge in Insiza District, Jeka Bridge on Mwenezi River in Mberengwa and Lundi Christian High School in Mwenezi.
Minister Kasukuwere chairs the Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management that also comprises development partners.
Nkankezi River Bridge connects Bulawayo with Zvishavane-Masvingo and Mutare, while Jeka Bridge connects Mberengwa West constituency with Mataga Growth Point in Mberengwa South.
Addressing villagers at Jeka Bridge, Dr Sekeramayi said the tour had been an eye opener on the extent of damages communities suffered.
“We have seen that we will need the Defence Forces to come in and assist, so we will do that,” said Dr Sekeramayi.
“This is a problem affecting every one of us and since the President declared it a state of disaster, it means we will be working together to make sure we alleviate the problem.”
In his remarks, Minister Kasukuwere said Government was committed to alleviating the problems caused by the floods.
“The President declared a state of disaster, which means all Government departments and development partners will work together to alleviate the damages caused by the rains,” he said.
“We have seen the damages and be rest assured that as the Government we are very committed to assisting you together with our development partners.”
Minister Kasukuwere said the local leadership was supposed to immediately notify Government if there were any problems caused by the rains, so that reaction teams could be sent.
United Nations resident co-ordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli, told Insiza villagers that as development partners, they were willing to assist Government in addressing the problems caused by the floods.
“We want to thank Ministers Kasukuwere and Sekeramayi for allowing us to come here with them to see the extent of the damage caused by the rains,” he said.
“As development partners, we are very concerned about your plight and we pledge to work with Government to address this problem. Our plan is to urgently look at what is needed, so that we can assist. We are very sorry for the loss you have suffered.”
Mr Parajuli hailed the community in Insiza for working together to fix a make-shift bridge, so that traffic could cross Nkankezi River.
Unicef deputy representative, Dr Jane Muita, urged parents and guardians to be more vigilant when dealing with children during this rainy season.
“The rains are going to continue until the end of March, so parents and guardians please take care of the children,” she said.
“Please make sure you watch over them and assist them when crossing rivers, even if it means you escorting them to school, please do so.”
Save the Children country director, Ms Sarah Blin, said it was disheartening that communities had been affected by the rains and her organisation would also assist.