The government of Zimbabwe has appealed to international donors to help those affected by floods in the country during the 2016 to 2017 rainy season.
In a statement the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National House, the Hon Saviour Kasukuwere MP said that 246 people have died, 128 people injured and approximately 1,985 made homeless by flooding in the country since October 2016.
The country’s Civil Protection agency reported a few days ago that 859 people remained displaced after flooding in Tsholotsho District in Matabeleland North, where the Gwayi River and its tributaries burst their banks.
Across the country as a whole, the minister said that over 2,500 homes have been damaged since October and some communities are still cut off by the floods. Roads, schools and health facilities have also suffered damage. The districts of Mberebgwa, Insiza and Lupane have suffered major road damage. Full damage assessments are yet to carried out in some areas that remain inaccessible due to flooding.
Mr Kasukuwere said that since the onset of La Niña the country had experienced “an astounding shift from a drought condition to an excessively wet situation” and there have been heavy (rain) falls that have surpassed all previous years. The situation was exacerbated by Tropical Cyclone Dineo in mid February.
Mr Kasukuwere added that “85% of dams in the country are full and spilling, thus even low amounts of rainfall will cause flooding.” Around 70 small and medium sized dams have already been breached.
In some areas the country’s old and often poorly built housing infrastructure has been unable to withstand the severe weather. Approximately 2,579 houses have been damaged by the heavy rain and flooding. In Old St Mary’s suburb in Harare nine houses have collapsed and a further 2,500 are at risk of collapse. Similarly in Mabvuku, around 500 old houses are also at risk of collapse.
The affected populations are in dire need of assistance, said Mr Kasukuwere. There is an inadequate supply of tents and an urgent need for blankets, clothing, food and medical supplies in affected areas.
The statement continued: “I am therefore appealing to the development partners, provate sector and general public inclusive of those in the disaspora to rally with Government to support the emergency relief programs…”
Update: UN Report
In a report of 01 March, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Matabeleland North is worst affected area. Other affected provinces include Midlands, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Harare.
OCHA added “There is still risk of flooding in the country as most parts continue to receive heavy rainfall. Furthermore, the situation is compounded by the fact that the ground is saturated as a result most of the rainfall received is converted to surface runoff which may exacerbate flood conditions.
“According to the Flash Flood Guidance system the forecasted areal precipitation is concentrated mainly in the Eastern Highlands and also parts of Masvingo, however flooding is forecasted to be mainly in the Chipinge and Chimanimani District.”
According to the OCHA report, river levels are high and many still threaten further flooding:
- Zambezi river – Increase in flows due to incoming runoff from the upstream countries
- Odzi river – Increase in flows. Moderate flood risk in Middle Sabi
- Runde river – There is high risk of flooding in Runde up to the confluence with Save
- Mazowe river – Flows are now decreasing but above average
- Gwayi river – There is high risk of flooding in the Tsholotsho and Binga District Area.
B - Umzingwane (Zimbabwe)
Gwayi river, Tsholotsho - February 16 to February 22, 2017
Rupike, Masvingo - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Bikita, Masvingo - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Zaka, Masvingo - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Kezi, Masvingo - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Serima Mission, Masvingo - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Esigodini, Matabeland South - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Filabusi, Matabeland South - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Zvishavane, Midlands - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Ngungunyana (Chipinge), Manicaland - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Chinpinge, Manicaland - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Chimanimani, Manicaland - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Chisengu, Manicaland - February 26 to February 27, 2017
Tsholotsho district - February 16, 2017
Mberengwa district - February 20, 2017
Umzingwane - February 20, 2017