BY KENNETH NYANGANI/MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
THE country’s Department of Civil Protection (DCP) has set up 394 evacuation centres in Manicaland province to deal with the impact of Cyclone Ana, amid reports that parts of Mutasa and Chimanimani districts were already receiving strong winds and heavy rains associated with the storm.
As of yesterday, the storm had killed three people and injured 49 in Mozambique while the United Nations has forecast that around 500 000 people in that country may be impacted by the tropical storm.
In Madagascar, the tropical storm, which is characterised by heavy rains, flooding and mudslides, has already killed about 34 people on the island.
In Malawi, Cyclone Ana plunged most parts of the country into darkness on Monday.
Zimbabwe is already on high alert as parts of Manicaland province have already experienced the strong tropical winds that could be effects of tropical depression from Cyclone Ana.
Manicaland DCP chairperson Edgar Seenza yesterday told NewsDay that evacuation centres were being mounted at districts that were likely to be affected by the cyclone, which include Chipinge, Mutare, Chimanimani, Muzarabani and Nyanga.
“We have set up 394 evacuation centres in Manicaland and one evacuation centre in Nyanga. No students have failed to go back home from school due to flooded rivers and blocked roads,” he said.
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“However, we have recorded a total of eight blown rooftops in Mutasa and Chimanimani districts. In Manicaland, we have started receiving strong rains and winds in most parts of the province, and these are the effects of the Tropical Depression Ana.
“In Mozambique, some parts have already been affected, but our state of preparedness as Zimbabwe is good as Cyclone Idai taught us a lot. Resources can be a challenge, but we are now able to deal with every situation associated with these tropical depressions.”
In a notice this week, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) warned that heavy rains might affect Manicaland and Masvingo provinces for four days, and urged people to secure loose items, including roofs, and to stay on high ground.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) said it was also on high alert in Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Masvingo and Mashonaland Central provinces, and was assisting the DCP with a cocktail of strategies to minimise the impact of the cyclone on communities.
ZRCS secretary-general Elias Hwenga said: “The pre-positioned relief materials, which will be distributed in response to needs assessment, include tents/tarpaulins, hygiene kits, blankets, jerry cans and mosquito nets, among others. ZRCS volunteers are already on standby while in some places such as Chipinge and Chimanimani they are already conducting simulations for first aid and psychological first aid preparedness.”
In a statement, MSD said there were heightened fears of dam breach impacting downstream communities due to increased overflows on Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo.
“This will result in multi-faceted humanitarian consequences inclusive of damage to shelter, crops/livelihoods, communication infrastructure, WASH (water, hygiene and sanitation) facilities and health. These will subsequently result in trauma, family separation/displacement, increase in protection issues, injuries and possibly deaths,” Hwenga said.
Other areas forecast to be affected by Cyclone Ana include Kariba and Hurungwe in Mashonaland West province, Mudzi and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe in Mashonaland East province, and Rushinga, Muzarabani, Centenary, Mt Darwin and Mbire in Mashonaland Central province.
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