The Sunday Mail
Thousands of Zimbabweans whose homes were destroyed or damaged by recent floods will soon get respite as Government will help them reconstruct their houses.
A special committee will assess prospective beneficiaries’ properties and then determine whether or not one qualifies for support.
It will mobilise funds towards this grand effort, which involves donor agencies and other well-wishers.
Above-normal rainfall in different parts of Zimbabwe between December 2016 and January 2017 has left many people on the brink.
Meteorologists attribute the flooding to La Nina, a weather phenomenon that spews results in heavy rains and thunderstorms. According to the Civil Protection Unit, 76 people have drowned while lightning strikes have killed 10 and injured 96 this summer season.
The CPU estimates 1 050 houses have been damaged, leaving 73 families homeless. In addition, 68 small dams have breached and other infrastructure like roads, clinics and schools have been destroyed.
The unit’s latest situation report lists flooding as a “massive threat”, particularly to low-lying areas like Muzarabani, Middle Sabi, Chikwalakwala, Malapati, Gokwe and Tsholotsho.
Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Engineer George Mlilo, told The Sunday Mail, “Flooding is still going on in several areas across the country, and we are unable, as yet, to ascertain the true extent, in monetary terms, of the damage that has been caused.
“But we will carry out a proper assessment once the rains have ceased. It is only then that we will be able to give estimates of the cost of flooding. There has been damage to roads, dams, clinics, schools and other infrastructure, and the appropriate ministries responsible for them will act on reconstruction.
“We will negotiate support from well-wishers and our development partners whom we expect to help in the mobilisation of funding for the work.
“While we are aware that the damage was not caused by any human fault, but an act of nature, we acknowledge that our people who were affected will need the support of Government in their reconstruction work. As Government, we will provide that support, but it will not be wholesale.”
The CPU situation report reads: “The situation is compounded by the fact that most of our national dams, especially the small and medium-sized ones, are now full, resulting in most of the rainfall received being converted to run-off.
“In Mashonaland Central province, Manyame River banks are collapsing, encroaching towards Tsetse division buildings. Distribution of grain and inputs has been hindered due to incessant heavy down pours.”
In Bindura, the report says, two children drowned in a dam after an ox-drawn cart they were aboard overturned.
A hailstorm damaged four teachers’ houses, classroom furniture and blew off classroom roofs at Shamva’s Chemhanza Primary School; while in Mount Darwin, a house belonging to a disabled couple that looks after orphans was destroyed.
In Masvingo’s Chivi district, nine homes in Ward 29 were destroyed as floods reached window level. Three bridges in the area were also washed away.
In Gokwe South, crops and fields belonging to 100 families were damaged, while two students from Chinatsa Secondary School in Marondera were killed by lightning.
The report also reads, “Mashonaland West province, Zvimba: All dams along Manyame River are spilling over. Five people were marooned whilst fishing and were air-rescued. Two people in a canoe were swept away, and one escaped whilst the other one drowned. The body is yet to be found. Twenty-five illegal settlers on Heydon Farm had their homes reportedly destroyed by heavy rains. The district (authorities are yet) to confirm.”
Other Sadc countries — particularly Mozambique — are grappling with La Nina-induced flooding.
In Angola, 1 800 houses in the capital, Luanda, were damaged while a significant number of others were completely destroyed.
A fortnight ago, media reports said seven people in South Africa died after being caught up in flooding.