BY TATENDA CHITAGU
GOVERNMENT should include disaster risk reduction, preparedness, mitigation and adaptation studies in schools’ new curriculum starting from primary level to avert calamities in the event of natural catastrophes, the Zimbabwe Red Cross has said.
The call came after 259 people mainly from Manicaland and some from Masvingo, died following the Cyclone Idai flooding that left thousands displaced and injured, with hundreds others still unaccounted for, two weeks ago.
Speaking at the handover of donated food items worth US$30 000 to cyclone victims in Gutu on Friday, Zimbabwe Red Cross Masvingo provincial manager Fungai Maregedze said such studies were important in the wake of climate change-induced disasters.
“We actually have a programme on disaster risk reduction which we are doing with the Ministry of Education. We are training all the teachers on first aid and disaster risk management so that they impart the knowledge to students. We need to catch the people young, so the studies should be implemented vigorously to students,” she said.
Maregedze said while disaster risk reduction studies have been in the education curriculum since 1980, they have not been effectively enforced.
“We teach people on other strategies like where to build houses and what to do before and during disasters like self-evacuation. In the new curriculum, the studies are there, but more should be done. The mandate to teach disaster risk reduction was there since 1980, but it was not enforced,” she said.
The donations, where each of the 1 150 affected families in Gutu district got 40kg of foodstuffs, were sourced from the Turkish Red Cross chapter, which responded to the Cyclone Idai disaster that also befell Mozambique and Malawi.
Speaking at the same event, Turkish Red Crescent head of international relations department, Halim Sertac Acici, said they also donated to the cyclone victims in Mozambique and Malawi.
“We heard of this devastating cyclone disaster and we were touched by the plight of the survivors. Immediately, we mobilised and sent our teams to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. We bought foodstuffs of 40kg for each affected family in Zimbabwe and we have teamed up with Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and have started distribution,” he said.
Acting Gutu district administrator Chiedza Tafirei said food-wise, the donations would go a long way in helping the victims recover from the effects of the cyclone.