Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
SIX more tropical cyclones are expected to hit Zimbabwe before the end of the rainy season and there is need for robust mechanisms for monitoring natural phenomenon, a Government Minister has said.
The Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo said this during a Cyclone Idai recovery project donation ceremony in Harare yesterday.
The project is being funded by the African Development Bank and implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the donated is equipment worth US$226 000.
This equipment is for use by the Meteorological Services Department to improve monitoring weather developments in Chipinge and Chimanimani in which the latter district was the epicentre of the Cyclone Idai induced disaster in March 2019.
Zimbabwe, during this rainy season, had two cyclones, ANA which left a trail of destruction and Batsirai which fortunately dissipated.
Minister Moyo said predictions by the Meteorological Services Department have been accurate so far.
“According to Meteorological Services Department (MSD) there is a projection of six more cyclones during the remainder of the current rainy season. Thus, a robust mechanism for monitoring natural phenomena cannot be over emphasised; And their predictions have been very accurate,” said Minister Moyo.
He said so far during the rainy season over 1 500 households have been destroyed by the cyclonic weather.
“At every rainfall season, the country experiences damages to social, economic and physical infrastructure and in the past two weeks, Tropical Storm Ana compounded the situation and cumulative data for the 2021/2022 rainfall season indicate that about 1 557 households had their houses partially damaged while some were completely destroyed; more than 50 schools were damaged as well as road, water, sanitation, health and social infrastructure. By the grace of God, for now, Tropical Storm Batsirai has dissipated,” said Minister Moyo.
He said early warnings by the MSD were important to save lives.
“Occurrence of weather-related shocks need not lead to loss of human lives as affected populations can take early action, following issuance of early warning information backed by scientific approaches through use of the equipment being handed over to the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
“The Meteorological Services Department is the key early warning institution which requires substantial capacity building to be effective and efficient in providing real time data to protect populations that are vulnerable and exposed to risks associated with the weather,” said Minister Moyo.
Speaking to Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN), Deputy Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Barbara Rwodzi said Government was ready for the projected cyclones.
“We are more than ready for those cyclones. It’s our department together with other partners from outside the country who have identified the cyclones. Hence, we are quite ready and what we have received here to add more to what we have in terms of equipment and instruments and I think we are ready. We work together with other departments such as Civil Protection Unit, the police and the community itself and we are making them aware of the cyclones that are coming,” said Deputy Minister Rwodzi.
When the MSD issued an advisory on impending Tropical Cyclone Ana, a meeting of the Emergency Services Sub Committee, of the National Civil Protection Committee, was convened to fully operationalise the National Contingency Plan.
The plan includes Sub-national Civil Protection structures headed by Ministers for Provincial Affairs and Devolution which were activated and prepositioning of Jet AI fuel by the Air Force of Zimbabwe. Each province was allocated 50 tonnes of maize grain which were to be managed by Provincial Secretaries; $34 million was disbursed to all Provinces for cash preparedness; and ZIMPLATS and Econet sponsored SMS alerts on risk information to raise awareness on mobile phones for the public.
Last month, the MSD identified 13 districts in the northern parts of Zimbabwe that were expected to be affected by a depressed tropical cyclone Ana. The downgraded Tropical Storm Ana affected Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.
Malawi’s government suspended classes in all schools in the southern districts of the country in the wake of the tropical cyclone.
In Mozambique, the National Delegation of Hydraulic Resources Management (DNGRH) issued a flood risk alert for increased rainfall starting January 25 and a flood risk for the Zambeze, Buzi, Pungoé, Licungo, Ligonha, Meluli, Montepuez, Messalo, and Megaruma river basins as well as the coastal areas of Zambézia, Nampula, and Cabo Delgado Provinces.
Locally, districts such as Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutare, Mutasa, Nyanga, Mudzi, Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, Rushinga, Mt Darwin, Centenary, Mbire, Northern Hurungwe and Kariba Districts were expected to be affected by tropical cyclone Ana.
The Department of Civil Protection, has in the past issued warnings and advised the public to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through floodwaters as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to sweep away a vehicle.
The public has been urged to ensure rooftops are secure by checking nails that may be loose and also secure all loose items that are outside, where possible place them in a safe storage space.
Names of tropical storms . . .
NAMES Provided by
Fezile South Africa
Since cyclone season 2000-2001, names from the list are contributed by all the nations that are members of the Tropical Cyclone Committee for the South-West Indian Ocean (15 countries, most of them from Southern Africa).
These names are chosen by consensus during the Tropical Cyclone Committee which is normally held every two years.
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Article Source: The Chronicle