BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
LOCAL Government deputy minister Marian Chombo has urged the government to increase funding towards rehabilitation of roads, health and infrastructure in flood-prone regions.
Chombo was responding to questions in Parliament on Thursday emanating from a report on the assessment of progress made in arrears affected by floods.
The report also covered the construction of COVID-19 treatment and isolation facilities.
“The government should increase the emergency funding towards the rehabilitation of health, education, transport facilities and infrastructure in the flood affected regions,” Chombo said.
In July 2020, the government commenced the Cyclone Idai Runyararo housing project to provide permanent solution to the 226 families affected by the March 2019 floods. The project is yet to complete three years on.
She said at least 105 houses for flood victims have been completed, urging Treasury to release additional funding for the remaining units.
“Treasury should provide some budgetary allocation in the 2021 National Budget for the expeditious rehabilitation of COVID-19 treatment and isolation facilities particularly in the grassroots,” she said.
“Priority should be given to the construction of a quarantine centre in Plumtree. The Treasury has released three tranches, though not enough for the construction of such facilities.”
Chombo said her ministry would ensure that the Department of Civil Protection has an adequate human capital resources complement to deal with all kinds of disasters.
She added that there was lack of decentralisation of functions especially for COVID-19 testing and this militated against a timeous response to the pandemic.
“The modus operandi changed as provinces and districts were given the resources to respond to the pandemic,” she said. “The committee noted that there was a lack of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for both health and construction workers thus, exposing both the workers and patients to the virus and the injuries. Again, it is now mandatory for all the workers to have PPE to minimise their chances of contracting the virus.”