THE ZANU PF national people’s conference, scheduled to take place in Esigodini from Tuesday to Sunday, is under threat of flooding after the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) warned of hailstorms and flooding in Matabeleland South, among other provinces nationally.
BY RICHARD MUPONDE
The ruling party’s annual indaba is being held in Esigodini, Matabeleland South, which is one of the province’s flood-prone areas.
The Civil Protection Unit (CPU) is already on high alert to cope with any flood-induced eventualities across the country.
Flooding in Matabeleland South would likely to bear on the Zanu PF’s jamboree, with some delegates facing the possibility of being marooned due to flooding as rivers in the province have small bridges.
Delegates accommodated at Epoch Mine in Filabusi, where lower Nkankezi Bridge, which links to the highway and floods in heavy rains rendering it impassable, could easily fall victim.
The venue of the conference may also be affected in the event of flooding, as venue structures were erected using poles and tents to create marques in a highly muddy area.
In a statement on Friday, the MSD warned that there would be heavy rains and flooding in Manicaland, Masvingo, Matebeland South and southern parts of Midlands, starting yesterday (Sunday) as 60mm of downpour were expected in 48 hours.
MSD head of public weather service Tich Zinyemba yesterday confirmed the likelihood of floods.
“Yes, that is the general assessment of the situation,” he said.
CPU director Nathan Nkomo yesterday said his organisation had been put on high alert to respond to emergencies without disclosing the budget set aside for the operation.
“Of course, we are on high alert; all our structures are ready. We were in Bulawayo on Saturday and heard reports that district administrators in the region were doing something in activating their units. We are operating on a shoe-string budget like any other government department, but the little we have in our coffers can take us somewhere, unless the situation goes out of hand. We can apply for more funds,” Nkomo said.
Flood-prone districts in Matabeleland South are Insiza; Matobo, Gwanda, Bulilima, Beitbridge and Umzingwane, where Esigodini is situated.
Last year, floods induced by Cyclone Dineo left a trail of destruction in these districts, with people marooned for weeks and the CPU having to provide clothing and food to stranded villagers using army helicopters.