GOVERNMENT has availed accommodation for only 27 families in Budiriro, Harare that were affected by floods two years ago, leaving victims of the current flash floods stranded.
Tens of families in Budiriro have been affected by the rains that have been pounding the city and other areas across the country since last week following a prolonged dry-spell.
The affected families include the 27 that were identified two years ago when flash floods swept through the suburb.
Speaking during a tour yesterday, Local Government minister, Winston Chitando, revealed that the 27 families will occupy Dzivarasekwa flats.
“Two years back the minister of Housing went to Budiriro and confirmed the illegality of the houses which are on a wetland next to a river and arranged that the people be moved to these flats unfortunately before they could be moved, tragedy struck but the units are ready and families will be moved,” Chitando said.
“From a public works perspective we are handing over the units to the Ministry of Housing which will handle the process accordingly.”
National Housing minister Daniel Garwe said the government was fulfilling a promise it made to the families that were affected two years ago.
“The people that were moved are those that we noticed two years ago and are the beneficiaries of these houses,” Garwe said.
“We will sit down as the ministry and look at the legitimate people to avoid those that want to take advantage of the situation. We will do a thorough audit of those who were affected when the programme started.”
Land barons linked to Zanu PF have been accused of illegally parcelling out housing stands, some situated on wetland, to the affected families.
The Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province, Charles Tavengwa, said houses illegally built on wetlands would be demolished.
“People are being affected because we do not have a master plan. We have to abide by the law and what has to be demolished will be demolished. We have to have a planned society,” Tavengwa said.
In Harare, a poor drainage system has made the situation worse, making some roads impassable while water is finding its way into people’s homes, destroying electrical gadgets.
As the rains continue falling, the City of Harare in partnership with the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) has since established two evacuation centres to temporarily accommodate affected families.
The centre, at Budiriro 2 Primary School, is meant to provide shelter to residents in flood-prone low-lying areas.
During the ministers’ tour yesterday, a mother of the minor child who was killed by the rains last week wept uncontrollably before government officials saying that she was now being threatened for reporting the matter.
One of the flood victims, Susan Mlambo Chaputika, said she moved to Budiroro in 2015.
“During the 2016 rainy season we noticed that the area was prone to flooding. We reported the matter to the council and they said they will attend to it but to date, they have not done anything,” Chaputika said.
“The issue of floods kept recurring every reason and between 2019 and 2021 that is when we alerted government officials and the matter became public.
“Government responded by setting up evacuation centres. They said there are flats that were being built in Dzivarasekwa, we went there and we saw that there was progress and today they are telling us that we will be moved in January.”
Another victim said: “We were affected by floods and everything was wiped away by the rains, we don’t even have identity documents.
“We are appealing for any form of help to assist us get back on our feet.”