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Dineo Alert: Masvingo, southern Midlands, parts of Matabeleland under threat

Government is ready to render assistance and respond to emergencies that may arise as a result of tropical depression Dineo, which is likely to hit the country tonight as it has already made landfall in southern Mozambique, Local Government Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said.

Minister Kasukuwere said the southern parts of the country such as, Masvingo, southern Midlands and parts of Matabeleland are under threat.

As such he said, the Civil Protection Unit has activated its emergency operations centre to ensure effective responses, while civil protection structures at national and sub-national levels were on standby to manage the emergencies.

"The southern parts of this country are under threat from Cyclone Dineo, which has already made landfall in southern Mozambique at speeds in excess of 100km an hour, but has apparently degraded to a tropical depression which has less destructive winds. Current forecasts indicate that it is likely to impact on Zimbabwe tonight," he said.

"The most severe dangers associated with cyclones are strong winds. Other serious dangers are flying debris, thunderstorms, lightning, heavy and intense rainfall, thus the risk to flooding is extreme.

"Every attempt is being made to monitor the progress and direction of the cyclone by the Meteorological Services Department. Water levels in rivers are being closely monitored on real time by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority. Updates will be issued on weather bulletins."

The response comes after more than 78 people have died from flooding. He said the CPU was giving $100 financial assistance to each affected family.

He said the support was being hindered by limited budget allocations, and he was hoping that the $5 million they had requested from Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa would be released.

Minister Kasukuwere urged the public to remain calm and take the necessary precautions in an orderly and timely manner so as to avoid crossing flooded and overflowing rivers and bridges.

"Primarily, communities must be actively on the look-out for approaching strong winds, rain and levels of water in their environs. They must listen to weather forecasts and advice being issued through the media as well as from their local civil protection structures. It is essential to ensure windows and doors are closed in case of strong winds and it may be necessary to seek shelter under tables and beds if roofs are blown off. Families must move timely to high ground when threatened by flooding."

Meanwhile, Minister Kasukuwere said President Mugabe has declared a State of Disaster in regard to the road network in Harare in terms of Subsection (1) of section 27 of the Civil Protection Act (Chapter 10:06).

He said this was as a result of the magnitude of the extensive damage to the road network and the attendant risk to injury, loss of life together with the economic impact of an unusable road network.

"Harare Metropolitan Province has suffered the brunt of the La Nina phenomena and has received rainfall amount of 120 percent to 200 percent of normal. These excessive rains have decimated the road network throughout the province. A response strategy is being crafted inclusive of resource mobilisation mechanisms to mitigate against this disaster," he said.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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