12 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Expert Warns of Flood Risk

Zimbabweans have been urged to exercise extreme caution in light of the continued rainfall and the increased risk of floods. In an interview, Head of the Meteorological Services Department, Mr Tichaona Zinyemba called for collective effort to ensure maximum preparedness especially in flood prone areas with poorly drained soils.

"Local councils should maximise the way they deal with the drainage challenges currently prevailing in major cities and towns in Zimbabwe, parents should also ensure the protection of their children by not forcing them to go to school if a storm is coming," he said.

The Air Force of Zimbabwe has since pledged to assist people affected by floods in the country's low-lying areas this season.

In a statement, Local Government and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo urged the public to be wary of the dangers emanating from the continued rains.

"The general public is advised to make an effort to know their local weather patterns, monitor water levels in their environs, take necessary precautions on the roads by driving at safe speed and be generally aware of prevailing hazards," he said.

"Vehicle drivers, school children and the public should desist from crossing flooded rivers or low-lying bridges, People should quickly move to higher ground if they notice that their area is becoming flooded," he said.

Minister Chombo called on the public and schools to teach swimming so as to decrease the rate at which people drown. He urged people to use safe water to prevent water-borne and water-based diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria and bilharzia.

Meanwhile, in a statement the Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rains this weekend.

"The rains are expected to be as high as 100mm in 24 hours especially in Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central and Masvingo, therefore there is an increased risk of flash flooding," the statement read.

The met office said Zimbabwe received the heaviest rains on January 4 in the south east of the country.

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