Walter Mswazie, Masvingo
THE Civil Protection Unit in Masvingo has put in place mechanisms to deal with disasters such as floods that might occur as a result of rain.
The rainfall season is about to start and the Meteorological Department has warned that some areas might experience violent storms while the country is expected to receive normal to above normal rainfall especially between January and March next year.
In an interview, on the sidelines of the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri meet-the-stakeholders tour in Masvingo last week, CPU provincial chairman Mr Fungai Mbetsa said the unit has strengthened its structures from ward to provincial level and equipped communities with disaster management skills ahead of the rainy season.
“We have held several awareness meetings in flood prone districts. We have also trained and strengthened capacities of our committees in disaster management,” said Mr Mbetsa.
“We have also moved some families from flood prone areas to safe areas. Some were airlifted when they were affected by floods in March this year, to safe places and we assisted them to build new homes. This occurred in Chivi, Mwenezi and Chiredzi.”
Mr Mbetsa, who is also Masvingo provincial administrator, said the local CPU teams were also training communities on early warning signs as part of disaster preparedness.
“Our teams have also trained some villagers in appreciating early warning signs of natural disasters. We are assisted by partners like International Migration Organisation,” he said.
He said there were families whose crops were affected by the floods and do not have food reserves that will last until the next harvest hence they needed assistance.
“While we have a phenomenal improvement in the area of food security in the province, there are some areas that need attention. We have Chivi District where some villagers’ food reserves will not last them up to the next harvest season. In such areas Government will resume food aid programme.”
In February and March, a number of families in Chivi District had their homes destroyed by the floods.
In Mwenezi at Lundi High School more than 170 girls and 23 staff members comprising teachers and a pastor were once marooned due to floods.