A least 21 families and 11 other people in Nsungwale area under Chief Sinakoma in Binga, were on Monday marooned after the area experienced heavy rains which resulted in life threatening floods.
The flooded area is where four rivers meet, namely; Sibwambwa, Sikanda, Namapande and Manyenyengwa. In a statement, the acting Secretary for Local Government and Public Works, Mr Christopher Shumba said efforts were being made to assist these people to reach safer zones.
“Due to the heavy backlash, all the 21 families in the flood plain are marooned and 11 other are being assisted to reach safer zones. The Rapid Assessment by the District Civil Protection Committee indicates that there could be more people affected considering the general settlement patterns in Binga District.
“As an immediate intervention, the Air Force of Zimbabwe, being an active member of the Emergency Services Sub-Committee has mobilised two helicopters to assist the affected families. The (ZRP) Sub-Aqua Unit stationed at Fairbridge in Bulawayo were also mobilised,” he said.
He said the District Civil Protection Committee was directed to intensify their assessment until they ascertain the actual number of people affected and those in need of assistance.
The Civil Protection Department is also dispatching 100 tents and blankets to Binga.
“Short term measures for consideration include the following; quick evacuation of the affected families to areas of safety and mobilization of non-food and food items considering the level of destruction mostly of their pole and dagga houses and stored food. The DCPC is to continuously monitor the general health and welfare of the people for possible outbreaks of waterborne related diseases,” Mr Shumba said.
He said the long term measures include possible relocation of affected families backed by a robust rural housing delivery programme to address the issues of sub-standard materials used. Others are capacitation of all civil protection organisations such as the Air Force of Zimbabwe, Sub-Aqua Unit and Department of Civil Protection with all-weather equipment in order to timeously respond to the vagaries of climate change.
“With the ongoing rainfall patterns, the public is advised to exercise caution and avoid crossing flooded rivers. In case of emergency contact 0712 236 384 or the nearest police station,” Mr Shumba said.
The Acting Binga District Administrator, Mr Farai Marinyane told the ZBC News that the rescue operation is continuing this Wednesday with the team concentrating on areas which were not accessible on Monday. He added that the floods have since subsided but indicated that the District Civil Protection Committee has a lot of work to do in dealing with the aftermath of the flash floods.
Last week, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) warned of flash floods and heavy rains in excess of 50 millimetres within 24 hours in most parts of the country. In a statement, the MSD said the rains would be violent and destructive in some areas and urged members of the public to take the necessary precautionary measures.
“Rainfall is expected across the country for an extended period. The storms may be accompanied by strong winds, hail and lightning. Localised heavy downpours of rainfall are highly likely during the wet spell,” reads the MSD statement.
“Moisture is being drawn into the country from Botswana and Zambia thus scattered rainfall is expected in most parts of the country starting on 6 February 2020. The rainfall is expected to intensify in most parts of the country from Saturday 8 to Tuesday 11 February.”
MSD urged motorists to take extra caution on the roads as the rains can affect their visibility. It discouraged members of the public from parking their cars under trees. Matabeleland North is one of the provinces that will receive significant downpours together with all Mashonaland provinces, Harare and some parts of Manicaland.