BY VANESSA GONYE
THE Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has warned that Tugwi Mukosi dam in Masvingo province could spill and cause floods at any moment due to rains throughout the country.
CPU unit director Nathan Nkomo yesterday told NewsDay that people in the area must be alert to the situation, adding that the organisation was ready to deal with any eventuality.
Nkomo said the CPU and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) were continuously monitoring the situation.
“It is normal for a dam to spill but what is critical is for Zinwa to continuously monitor the situation. Downstream communities also need to be notified; even those in Mozambique should be alerted of a possible flooding (spillage) should the situation worsen,” Nkomo said.
Zimbabwe has been found wanting in terms of dealing with disasters. The March 2019 Cyclone Idai, was a good example of the government’s lack of preparedness in dealing with floods.
In Zimbabwe, Cyclone Idai left 341 people dead, affecting 270 000 people while about 17 600 families were left homeless.
“The capacity to deal with the situation is there as we are working with Zinwa to manage it,” Nkomo said.
In a statement yesterday, the Chiredzi district development coordinator, Lovemore Chisema warned that communities should avoid embarking on activities along Tugwi Mukosi and Runde rivers.
“Please take note that Zinwa has issued a warning to the effect that Tugwi-Mukosi could overspill anytime from now,” Chisema said.
“To that end, may I appeal to our political leaders (MPs, councillors, senators), traditional (chiefs, headmen and village heads) and government leaders to take time to spread this message to our communities especially those that are directly affected.”
Chisema said Zinwa would be releasing information about the dam, adding that if there are marooned people they must immediately get in touch with their leaders or any CPU committee members.
Last year, towards the end of January, Tugwi Mukosi, with a capacity of 1, 8 billion cubic metres reached 100% percent capacity for the first time since it was commissioned in May 2017.
However, no serious damage was reported that year.