Rains trigger deadly floods

via Rains trigger deadly floods – DailyNews Live 5 JANUARY 2015

HARARE – Incessant rains that are pounding Zimbabwe have triggered flood emergencies around the country and claimed the lives of 11 people in Mashonaland West and Manicaland provinces.

Authorities say 10 of the lives were lost in Mashonaland West alone, while a six-year-old girl perished in Manicaland.

And according to reports from a meeting of the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) that was attended by Zimbabwe Red Cross Society officials in Bindura yesterday, about 60 households have been affected severely in the Mashonaland Central areas of Mbire, Kanyemba and Chikafa — while about 80 households had been affected in Muzarabani, and 150 households were in distress in Mukumbura.

The Red Cross further highlighted the fact many affected areas in the province were in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

The society’s head of marketing and public relations, Takemore Mazuruse, said its provincial structures around the country were responding to multiple  emergencies and continuing to monitor the situation in many areas together with officials from the CPU and the ministry of Health and Child Care.

“Many households in areas like Mbire, Mukumbura, Muzarabani, Zvimba and other parts of Mashonaland East are in water with levels rising as rains continue pounding Zimbabwe.

“Other affected areas include Gokwe in Midlands where 19 houses have reportedly collapsed with many more in danger.

“In Manicaland, in Chipinge District, heavy storms continue to pound the catchment area of the great Save river and backflows into the tributaries are being realised.

“Flooding threat is increasing in the settlement areas there,” Mazuruse said.

He said the Tongogara refugee camp near Chibuwe, which housed more than 9 000 refugees, was also likely to be affected soon given its proximity to the Save River bank.

“In Masvingo’s Chiredzi District, about 32 houses in the Malipati area have been damaged with reports from other affected areas in the province streaming in,” Mazuruse added.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department forecasts continued rains in most parts of the country, at a time that emergency response stocks were at the lowest.

Mazuruse said urgent needs for rain and flood victims included tents and tarpaulins for shelter, food, health and hygiene materials and blankets, among other necessities.

“The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society is working on averting the challenges in affected areas and has called on local stakeholders like corporates, churches and individuals to partner them in their efforts to alleviate human suffering,” he said.

Meanwhile, the director of the CPU, Madzudzo Spencer Pawadyira said: “The most affected areas are in the Mashonaland provinces. We have been advised by the Meteorological Department that areas like Mvurwi, Guruve and Mt Darwin have received much rainfall that has caused floods”.

He said Muzarabani area had been particularly affected although ground water was now receding.

“Mbire area ward 10 has a lot of flooding and it has not yet subsided.

A school has been affected with the flooding and equipment such as computers has been affected.

“We have since got in touch with Zimbabwe Red Cross and International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to try and get tents into place for displaced people,” he said.

Pawadyira said there had been heart-rending reports of people in flood-hit villages seeking refuge in trees as their way to avert danger.

“People should seek their own rescue before anybody comes along and people should not take any chances in flooded areas.

“Flooding takes time and the local people know the higher grounds and low grounds in their areas. They should move to higher grounds and not mind about their granaries because that can be handled afterwards,” Pawadyira added.

He also urged drivers of public and private vehicles not to take any chances in situations of crossing flooded rivers.

He gave an example of Chikuti River that had flooded in the Hurungwe area, which had affected the highway — causing motorists travelling

from holidays in Kariba to get stuck on the road on Saturday.

Questioned on how well-resourced CPU was in the event that people needed to be relocated after a flood, Pawadyira said relocation often took a long time.

“It depends what we need the resources for.  Relocation takes time and it is very difficult to relocate people,” he said.