George Maponga in Masvingo
The Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has shelved the relocation of thousands of families affected by floods in Masvingo last month as most of them are reluctant to leave their ancestral land.
Thousands of families, particularly in Chivi, Bikita, Zaka, Mwenezi and Chiredzi districts were left homeless after Cyclone Dineo-induced floods destroyed homes and infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
“We are not going to relocate anyone in Masvingo because the families whose homes were damaged by floods are adamant that they want to go back to their homes,” Masvingo provincial administrator and chairperson of the CPU in the province Mr Fungai Mbetsa said yesterday.
“Our teams are still on the ground assessing the total cost of damage caused by the floods so that we can come up with the total extent of the damage and the amount of resources required for rebuilding.’’
The floods prompted Government to appeal for assistance from donor organisations to rebuild damaged infrastructure. Most of the families were evacuated from their homes and moved to higher ground, where they were temporarily sheltered in tents or in buildings at institutions such as schools.
Government, through the CPU, resolved to relocate the victims in low lying flood-prone areas to ensure they are immune from future problems associated with flooding. Mr Mbetsa said families affected by floods had received assistance in the form of tents and food from Government and donor organisations.
Every family affected by floods, according to Mr Mbetsa, received tents for temporary shelter, two 50kg bags of maize and rice enough to last a month.
“There were also other non-food items such as soap that were given to every family affected by the floods and the non-food items would last them for three months,’’ said Mr Mbetsa.
Masvingo is one of the districts hardest hit by floods, with the heavy rains leaving a trail of destruction, including causing an outbreak of malaria that claimed nearly 30 lives across the province.
The CPU had to dispatch teams to carry out anti-malaria spraying in some areas where heavy rains induced water-logging that created fertile habitats for mosquitoes.
In Chiredzi, the floods destroyed access bridges at Chilonga and Mupapa, cutting off villagers in Chikombedzi from the district capital of Chiredzi.