The Sunday Mail
The Government has mobilised $37 billion for disaster response and management as it emerged that the country could be affected by two tropical cyclones during the 2023-2024 rainy season.
The Department of Civil Protection (DCP) also projects that about 250 000 people are at risk of being affected by adverse weather conditions — including tropical cyclones, flash floods, landslides and hailstorms — during the period.
Inclement weather has already affected 5 000 people, killing 13 and injuring 16 this year.
According to the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum, at least 13 cyclones are expected to hit Southern Africa this season.
This is above the average nine cyclones that make landfall every season.
Last year, Southern Africa was affected by 11 cyclones, including Freddy, which left a trail of destruction in Mozambique, Malawi and Madagascar.
Overall, it displaced more than 100 000 people.
Responding to questions from The Sunday Mail, the DCP said: “Due to increased cyclonic events, the country is likely to experience at least two tropical cyclones that will make landfall during the 2023-2024 rainfall season.
“The impact of extreme weather conditions is estimated to directly and indirectly affect at least 250 000 people and their livelihoods, mainly in landslide- and flood-prone areas.
“So far, at least 5 000 people have been affected, while 13 deaths and 16 injuries caused by extreme weather conditions have been reported.”
Flood-prone areas such as Mbire, Tsholotsho, Muzarabani, Chipinge-Middle Sabi, Chimanimani and Gokwe North are usually placed under high alert ahead of commencement of the rainy season.
“It should, however, be noted that flash flooding can happen anywhere in the country depending on rainfall intensity and conditions on the ground such as the drainage system,” said the department.
“The risk of landslides is high in the Eastern Highlands.”
Government has since developed a multi-hazard contingency plan to facilitate rapid response to rain-induced disasters.
It outlines measures to ensure rapid responses that include activation of all civil protection structures, disbursement of resources to districts to ensure maximum preparedness levels and activation of national and sub-national command centres for full operation during the season.
“The Meteorological Services Department will continue monitoring the season and give timely forecasts and alerts to the Department of Civil Protection for dissemination to the last mile.
“Government has released $37 135 970 000 for disaster management.”
According to the World Meteorological Organisation, 11 cyclones — Ana; Batsirai; Chalane; Dumako; Emnati; Freddy; Gombe; Halima; Kenneth; Lothar and Mandous — hit Southern Africa last season.
They caused widespread damage and displacement in the region, with Mozambique, Madagascar and Malawi being the most affected.
Climate change is making cyclones more intense and frequent.
* X: @tdrusike