THE Civil Protection Unit (CPU) yesterday said it is faced with budgetary constraints which might compromise its preparedness for natural disasters.
BY SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
CPU director Madzudzo Pawadyira told NewsDay in an interview that even with the limited resources, his department had, however, embarked on awareness campaigns to encourage people to be able to read danger warning signs of flooding during the current rainy season.
“At the moment the rains have been normal to above normal and we have not yet received any serious incidences of flooding,” Pawadyira said. “Our preparedness is, however, compromised by lack of funding, but what we have done was to go out to all flood prone areas before the rains came to encourage people to look at the topography of their area to see if it was likely to be hit by floods.”
Pawadyira said most people in flood prone areas were now able to read early warning signs and as a result move from lower to higher ground before disaster struck.
He said in Zimbabwe places like Muzarabani, parts of Gokwe, Middle Sabi, Beitbridge area, Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North, as well as other isolated places were prone to flooding.
“We encourage members of the public to avoid crossing swollen rivers and taking unnecessary risks when driving,” he said.
Pawadyira said although the CPU was severely underfunded, departments like the Airforce of Zimbabwe were always on standby to assist whenever land-based relocations were impossible.
Last year, during the rainy season, most roads, bridges, schools, toilets and other infrastructure were damaged due to flooding and heavy rains. The hardest hit area was Gokwe where a huge gulley threatened to divide the town into two and almost cut off the hospital, District Administrator’s offices and other offices.
In 2013, the department was allocated only $1 million and less than half of the amount was disbursed to them.
“I am not sure if we were allocated anything in 2014 since I have been away, but the main problem has been that even if money is allocated to the department during the budget, disbursements have always been a problem,” Pawadyira said.