George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Heavy rains in Masvingo province over the week have seen 39 families homeless in Chingwizi in Mwenezi, where houses were damaged by the downpours.
The District Civil Protection Committee (CPU) has already requested development partners to assist the affected families with tents for temporary shelter plus clothing and food.
Mwenezi district development coordinator and CPU chair, Ms Rosemary Chingwe, yesterday said assessments were still ongoing to establish the full extent of the damage and magnitude of reconstruction.
Yesterday, a team comprising Mwenezi CPU and Care International visited Chingwizi to ascertain the full impact of the damage.
There are fears that more houses could be damaged if the downpours continue.
Ms Chingwe said Government and its partners would assist the affected families.
“There are 39 households that were affected by heavy rains which saw some houses being destroyed.
“We are still carrying out assessments to determine the full range of the damage and cost.
“Our teams are working on that issue right now, but we are appealing to well-wishers and development partners to intervene,” said Ms Chingwe.
She said organisations such as Care International and Red Cross have been approached.
“At the moment we cannot tell whether there have been some who were left completely homeless,” said Ms Chingwe.
Communities in Mwenezi have been asked to build standard houses that can cope with heavy rains, especially considering that Mwenezi was exposed to flooding and strong winds that destroy houses every year.
Most houses across Mwenezi are built by pole and dagga, which cannot withstand strong winds and incessant heavy rains, exposing occupants to death or injuries.
Families at Chingwizi were relocated from the Tugwi-Mukosi basin in Chivi to pave way for Zimbabwe’s largest inland dam in early 2014.
The relocation marked arguably the biggest ever mass evacuation of people in post-independent Zimbabwe with the families getting compensation from Government to rebuild their homes.
However, majority of the families failed to build standard homes, six years down the line, citing a shortage of resources.
Masvingo has been at the receiving end of heavy rains that have precipitated floods in some areas forcing the CPU to urge communities, especially in low-lying areas, to be always on high alert.