Govt emphasises need to capacitate State disaster management agencies

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

THE Local Government ministry has emphasised the need to capacitate the State’s disaster management division, the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), and other agencies to prevent continued flood-induced loss of life and property.

This comes after flash floods hit Binga, Matabeleland North province, destroying homesteads and killing one person despite the Meteorological Services Department (MSD)’s earlier warning of violent storms.

Last year, the CPU, was blamed for poor disaster management after it allegedly failed to take measures to prepare for and reduce the effects of Cyclone Idai, which killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands in the country.

Acting secretary for the Local Government and Public Works ministry Christopher Shumba in a statement yesterday said the CPU which has dispatched tents to Binga flood victims, needed to be capacitated to timeously respond to such disasters.

“Long-term measures include capacitation of all civic protection organisations such as the Airforce of Zimbabwe, sub-aqua unit and department of civil protection with all-weather equipment in order to timeously respond to the vagaries of climate change,” Shumba said.

Zimbabwe is not spared the effects of climate change disasters such as drought and flash floods, which have become commonplace, taking lives and destroying property and infrastructure.

In April 2019, human rights’ activist Khumbulani Maphosa petitioned the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to investigate the CPU after accusing the disaster management agency of incompetence; omission and failure after Cyclone Idai hit the country.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Matabeleland North province Richard Moyo and the Binga District Residents Association (BIDRA) have appealed for assistance to meet the emergency needs of flood victims in the underdeveloped district.

“We have organised tents to shelter the families, but what is also needed is food, clothing and blankets. Our immediate task is to save lives and ensure they have some form of decent shelter and other amenities,” Moyo said.

BIDRA secretary-general Moffat Mutale added: “We have also joined hands with other independent groups to assist government in the mobilisation of the required basic needs of the victims, in particular clothing and food.”

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