HARRIET CHIKANDIWA/ BLESSED MHLANGA
FOUR days after the Binga flash floods, government is still battling to rescue the estimated 21 marooned and displaced families.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet Press briefing yesterday that some of the affected families were in dire straits hanging from trees while others were marooned in the wake of the flash floods.
“Cabinet received a report on the flash floods which have been experienced in Binga district Nsugwale area, under chief Sinakoma as presented by acting Minister of Local Government Perrance Shiri,” she said.
“It was reported that due to the heavy backlash all the 21 families in the flood plain are marooned and 11 people are hanging from trees waiting for assistance.”
Mutsvangwa said the Air Force of Zimbabwe had since been deployed to ensure that those hanging from trees and marooned with no food or shelter were rescued.
“The Air Force of Zimbabwe, sub-aqua unit stationed at Fairbridge, Bulawayo and the Civil Protection Department had been mobilised to assist the affected families,” she said.
There has been an outcry that government has not moved fast enough to offer assistance to the affected families.
Mutsvangwa, however, said because of bad weather conditions, the Air Force was unable to effectively mount a rescue and search operation. She said as conditions improved, more help was being dispatched.
Government has recommended in the interim that foodstuffs and makeshift accommodation be mobilised.
“Cabinet’s short-term recommendation is that there should be quick evacuation of the affected families, non-food and food items be mobilised for the affected families and that the district civil protection committee should continuously monitor the general health and welfare of the people for possible outbreaks of waterborne related diseases,” Mutsvangwa said.
Turning to mealie-meal shortages in the country, government said it would next week introduce a targeted coupon system for the most vulnerable members of society.