The Sunday Mail
Norman Muchemwa and Kudakwashe Bwititi
Government is assessing the extent of damage caused by Cyclone Idai before rolling out an elaborate restorative work plan.
The cyclone, which has since been described by the United Nations as the worst weather-related disaster to hit the southern hemisphere, washed away major arterial roads and bridges.
Treasury has already released $50 million for the envisaged emergency works.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi told The Sunday Mail last week that the damage in the affected areas, especially Chimanimani, was extensive.
“There is basically no infrastructure in terms of roads and bridges in the affected areas.
“These are critical areas in order to ensure that meaningful development takes place. Every other activity will ride on transport infrastructure.
“Consequently, Government, via the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, is preoccupied with auditing the extent of the damage to road infrastructure,” said Deputy Minister Chasi.
“In other words, we need to know the number of bridges swept away as well as the roads. From there, we can then understand the extent of the damage and develop a suitable implementation plan supported by a necessary financial plan.
“Construction companies, engineering companies and individual engineers and their associations have been awesome in their support,” he said.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said resources mobilised for emergency works were hived off from funds pooled through the 2 percent Intermediate Money Transfer Tax.
Government, he added, will also calculate the cost of the tragedy to the entire economy.
“In terms of the cost of damage, we are actually working on this. There is a difference in terms of the damage to infrastructure and the economic impact.
“The cost of replacing is different from the economic cost.
“The economic impact is broader because it has a multiplier effect and we will definitely assess this. It is a very, very important issue,” he said.
He said Government had meticulously planned the distribution of the $50 million resource envelope to ensure that it reaches intended beneficiaries.
“We have very detailed information on the distribution of the resources and we are willing to share this information.
“For example, in terms of the schools that were affected, such as St Charles Lwanga Secondary School, where the dining room and the dormitory collapsed, we have budgeted $255 000. . .
“If you look at Chikukwa Primary School, the roofs were blown off and buildings collapsed — we have allocated $220 000. Chimanimani High School, we have allocated $127 000.
“These examples I am giving show that there is very detailed planning on the logistics front and we have a strategy for dealing with the issues as well for the application of the resources in terms of the $50 million that we have allocated.”
The Department of Roads, which falls under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, has been allocated $25 million to repair trunk roads and bridges, while the District Development Fund (DDF) has received $7,2 million for rural feeder roads.
DDF was allocated an additional $2 million to drill and rehabilitate boreholes.
Overall, $4 million has been set aside for the reconstruction of destroyed school infrastructure.
The Health and Child Care Ministry got $3 million for medical supplies and establishment of medical clinics.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) got a combined $5,8 million for rehabilitation of water supply infrastructure and restoration of electricity transmission and distribution.
Government says the damage caused by the Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in Mozambique with wind speeds of more than 178km per hour, is extensive, particularly in Chimanimani and Chipinge.
More than 18 water points, 10 bridges and 48 schools bore the brunt of the cyclone.
Further, at least 95 percent of the road networks in affected areas were damaged.
Among the damaged bridges in serious need of attention are Rusitu, Mhandarume, Mvumvumvu, Biriri, Muusha.
Skyline Bridge, Charter, Causeway and Kurwaisimba bridges.