26 April 2019

Zimbabwe: Cyclone Kenneth - Mash Central On Alert

Mashonaland Central Civil Protection Unit has activated its units across the province in anticipation of Cyclone Kenneth, which is reported to be heading towards Zimbabwe.

The province has low lying districts like Mbire, Mt Darwin, Muzarabani and Rushinga which are prone to flooding.

In an interview in Bindura yesterday, acting Civil Protection Unit chairman Mr Richard Chipfuva said they were closely monitoring the movement of the cyclone so that they would not be caught napping.

"When news of the cyclone begun filtering, we activated all communication lines with our counterparts in the province and the CPU directorate in Harare," he said. "Briefings are ongoing so that everyone is kept abreast with the movement of Cyclone Kenneth. "Various tasks were given to people across the province and as we speak awareness campaigns are ongoing. District CPUs have already been holding preparedness meetings and the response we have been getting from the ground is satisfactory.

"The most active districts are Mbire, Mt Darwin, Muzarabani and Rushinga because of their proximity to the anticipated path of the cyclone."

Mr Chipfuva said although the latest media reports showed that the cyclone would have weakened when it reaches Zimbabwe, they were not leaving anything to chance.

"Weather can change at any given time and it is better to be on top of the situation than to run around at the last minute," he said. "We learnt a lot of lessons from the devastating Cyclone Idai on the importance of awareness campaigns. "If people had moved to higher grounds earlier, some lives would have been saved and we are urging people in all low-lying areas to be proactive.

"We are taking everything seriously because the damage should be minimal if the cyclone is to hit our province. People from across the world are very concerned as we are receiving phone calls from everywhere with people enquiring on our state of preparedness."

Mr Chipfuva said they had already identified evacuation centres which are mostly public institutions.

"Schools have the strongest structures and these will act as our evacuation centres," he said. "For example, in Mbire, schools like Mahuhwe primary and secondary schools, Mushumbi primary and secondary schools, as well as Kanyemba school have been identified as the ideal evacuation centres. "In Muzarabani, the most prone areas are Chadereka and Musengezi areas and schools like Chadereka and Dambakurimwa have been identified as the evacuation centres."

Mr Chipfuva said they had already received funds from the CPU directorate that was distributed to all the districts. "The money was distributed to all the districts a fortnight ago. Some of the districts have already procured fuel in anticipation of any disaster," he said. "Communication channels have been activated, while most Government vehicles are on standby to be deployed to affected areas. In short, we are a gear up in terms of resource mobilisation."

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