Zimbabwe – 1 Missing After Heavy Rain Floods Harare

Zimbabwe is suffering a further bout of heavy rainfall which has caused flooding in the capital Harare.

Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe (MSD) reported that 158 mm of rain fell on Sunday 01 February 2015 in the Mabelreign area of the city.

WMO reported 64 mm of rain in 24 hours between 01 and 02 February 2015 in Harare. Further heavy rainfall has been forecast across the country over the next few days as a deep low pressure system is expected to develop in the Mozambique channel by Friday 06 February 2015.

1 Missing, Several Rescued

Homes and businesses in Harare have been damaged by the flooding. One person is missing in the floods after his car was swept away by flood waters. Several other motorists had to be rescued from inside and on top of their vehicles. Police have appealed for motorists to drive with caution and not cross flooded rivers, streams and bridges.

Poor Drainage and Poor Planning to Blame

Local media say the current flood situation in Harare is “less of a natural disaster and more the result of poor planning, lax enforcement and decisions based on political expediency.”

VOA Studio 7 report that:

Damaged watersheds, illegally built structures and the neglect of drainage systems are some of the factors that have made the people much more vulnerable to enormous floods.

Urban planners in the ministry of local government, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Studio 7 that lack of vision has seen the total collapse of the infrastructure.

Blaming poor drainange for harare’s flood woes isn’t new.

Harare regularly sees flooded roads in times of heavy rain. The photo below is from March 2013.

Harare floods, March 2013. Photo: Siyabonga
Harare floods, March 2013. Photo: Siyabonga

The accusations come at the same time that Human Rights Watch issued a report accusing the Zimbabwe government of maltreatment of victims of the Tokwe Mukorsi floods. The report suggests that the floods could have been avoided and were part of a strategy to relocate 20,000 people to smaller land plots then force them to grow sugar cane to contribute to a government-owned ethanol project.

18 Flood Deaths in 2015

As many as 18 people have died in floods so far this year. Six provinces were hit by severe flooding in early January 2015 where 10 people died.

The Zimbabwe Herald reported that 8 other people died when a car they were travelling in was swept away while crossing a flooded bridge near Kadoma in January 2015, after the driver did not take advice from other motorists to wait for the river to subside.