Fears abound that the drought stalking most parts of Matabeleland could extend to next year following projections of normal to below normal rainfall this wet season.
Report by Sheryleen Masuku
In its recent humanitarian report, the United Nations’ Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs also expressed concerns that the cattle situation in the region was getting worse by each day with an average of 500 beasts succumbing to drought each week.
The UN report was based on a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development in the southern parts of the country.
“The Meteorological Services Department has reported that Region 3 (Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo) is expected to receive normal to below normal rainfall during the first half of the season covering the period between October, November and December 2012,” the report states.
“The outlook for the January to March 2013 period shows that normal to above normal rainfall will be expected for regions 1 and 2, while normal rainfall with a bias towards suppressed rainfall activity is expected in Region 3.”
All Bulawayo City Council dams are located in Matabeleland South and poor rainfall in the province means more water woes for the city’s residents who are currently going through a 72-hour weekly water-shedding regime to preserve the little available resource in the remaining two supply dams.
The UN report further noted that the water crisis was also affecting cattle-dipping programmes.