Source: CPU urges Parly to descend on land barons – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 25, 2017
A DIRECTOR in the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) Nathan Nkomo yesterday called on legislators to craft deterrent laws against land barons who parcel out pieces of residential stands in disaster-prone areas like vleis and wetlands.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Nkomo made the remarks when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment to speak on problems associated with changing weather patterns, flood disasters and the strategic disaster risk management framework employed by his department to avert disasters.
“A Disaster Risk Management Bill will be brought before Parliament during the forthcoming fifth session of the Eighth Parliament and this committee needs to support the Bill because it will deal with the proliferation of illegal human settlements that cause problems,” he said. “We also need deterrent sentences for land barons because they are responsible for most illegal settlements and causing innocent citizens to lose a lot of money.”
He said some of the challenges faced by the CPU were lack of comprehensive data, community involvement in hazard identification, preparedness planning, and communication particularly with people living with disabilities on disaster issues, as well as cultural beliefs that when a person was struck by lightning it would be witchcraft.
Nkomo said they were relying heavily on Red Cross radio systems and used cellphones when people were marooned.
He said the government was struggling to fund the CPU which had been getting only $200 000 from the National Budget over the past few years.
“Treasury only revised the $200 000 to $2,7 million this year, but it has not yet been disbursed,” he said.
CPU deputy director Sibusisiwe Ndlovu said 92% of Zimbabwe’s landmass was safe from flooding while 8% was unsafe. She said 4% of the landmass was at extreme risk of flooding, adding the extremely dangerous place in terms of flooding in Zimbabwe was Gwayi, followed by Sanyati and Mzingwane.
Other flood-prone areas are Muzarabani, Manyame, Runde, Sabi and Mazowe although the hotspot is Gwayi.
Ndlovu said during the past year, 192 people died from lightning or poles falling on them, while 3 558 households were damaged and 5 666 people were left homeless with 376 households permanently damaged and 43 child-headed families left homeless.
The CPU said they would need $3,8 million to construct standard three-roomed houses, a toilet and kitchen for Tsholotsho flood victims.