A HUMAN rights group has urged authorities in Bulawayo to immediately activate disaster response mechanisms as flash floods continue to pound parts of the city, destroying infrastructure and property.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU/PATRICIA SIBANDA
Flash floods hit Bulawayo on Monday, leaving several houses waterlogged and in the process destroying household property.
Some of the affected areas include Pumula, Nketa, Emganwini, Nkulumane and Cowdray Park, among others.
The Matabeleland Institute of Human Rights (MIHR) said the damage caused meant that the authority should immediately activate disaster response measures to prevent loss of lives and property.
“MIHR urges responsible authorities to immediately start instituting climate crisis disaster response measures to avert loss of lives and human rights violations due to floods,” the MIHR said in a statement.
“We need climate resilient infrastructure and to partly solve this there is a need to localise disaster response mechanisms. Most of our urban local authorities are not doing disaster planning, and at the local level there are no disaster response committees.”
Bulawayo deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said the local authority had deployed disaster management teams in the western suburbs to rescue residents in the event of flooding.
“Our fire rescue team is ready to work in case floods occur. We do not usually have serious floods but what we have done is to dispatch our teams to the western areas to attend to any emergencies,” Ncube said.
Last year, the State’s disaster management agency, Civil Protection Unit (CPU) was blamed for poor response mechanisms after failing to take measures to prepare for, and reduce the effects of Cyclone Idai which killed hundreds and displaced thousands in the country.
In April 2019, human rights activist Khumbulani Maphosa petitioned the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) to investigate the CPU after accusing the disaster management agency of incompetence; omission and failure after Cyclone Idai hit the country.
Zimbabwe is not spared the effects of climate change disasters such as drought and flash floods, which have become commonplace, destroying property and other infrastructure.