Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
The Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has urged people living in low-lying areas and river banks across the country, including parts of Borrowdale in Harare, to move to higher ground as it warned of more risk of flooding.
The Meteorological Services Department has predicted heavy and violent downpours in the coming week.
Heavy flooding which affected most parts of the country last week, left a trail of destruction in Borrowdale where a number of houses were built along natural water courses exposing residents to runoff water and mud slides.
CPU acting director Mrs Sibusisiwe Ndlovu said two dams around Hogerty Hill had been spilling for a fortnight now due to heavy rains that pounded Harare.
“We have since spoken to the residents in Borrowdale and warned them to be on high alert since the other dam is also spilling and could breach any time. We have also asked those who can to vacate to higher ground to avoid further loss of property or lives,” she said.
Mrs Ndlovu said the CPU was worried that some houses in the affluent suburb contributed to flooding as they were built on natural water courses.
“There is a two-storey building constructed just 20 metres away from one of the dams and several other stands allocated along the stream. These houses are obstructing the natural course of water, contributing to flooding in the area,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
When The Herald visited the area, a resident had dug huge pits on the dam wall where he wanted to plant trees.
Mrs Ndlovu this was likely to further weaken the dam wall.
Volunteers were observed at the dam trying to create spillways to lower water levels.
“Both dams do not have spillways and because of the incessant rains, the water has begun to overflow and in the process eating away part of the dam wall.
“We think this could have contributed to the breaching of the other dam because of the force it had, which left huge gullies all over,” said a volunteer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
She said they had been working on the spillways since Thursday.
The situation appeared under control.
“The water levels have gone down for both dams and we hope the situation is now better compared to how it was yesterday (Saturday),” she said.
The CPU said most parts of the country had received more rains than expected. A number of suburbs in Harare have been hit by flashfloods which have damaged houses and other household property.
In its latest warning on extreme flooding, the CPU said all its civil protection structures were on high alert.
“The public is advised that homes in low-lying areas, near or inside rivers, on wetlands, on mountain slopes or on the edge of mountain slopes or foothills and on natural water courses, are extremely at risk of flooding.Ttherefore, there is need to be on the lookout particularly at night, and timely move to higher ground,” said the CPU.
“Motorists are advised to take advantage of daylight travel as much as possible and travel at safe speeds.
“Children must be supervised at play, on their way to and from school. No attempt must be made to venture into flooded rivers,” it warned.