Debra Matabvu

The normal to above-normal rains expected during the 2020/2021 season could potentially affect more than 50 000 households through flash flooding, severe thunderstorms among others, but Government has since set aside US$32 million for such emergencies.

According to the National Contingency Plan gleaned by The Sunday Mail, while the country is expected to generate between 22 million millilitres and 25 million millilitres of runoff, the nation’s dam capacity is only able to capture 17 percent of the water.

“Given a predominantly normal to above-normal season for most parts of the country, an upsurge is likely in the frequency and severity of seasonal and non-seasonal hazard impacts in all provinces of the country, affecting an estimated 50 000 households and their livelihoods,” reads part of the plan.

“These hazards include flash flooding, severe thunderstorms, landslides and rock falls, windstorms and hailstorms, sporadic flooding, tropical cyclones making landfall in this country, major human and animal disease outbreaks as well crop pest outbreaks.”

It is believed that the state of some roads and bridges, and the delayed provision of shelter for displaced populations from impacts of the past rainfall seasons is likely to increase vulnerability of some households.

The possibility of heavy rains would also increase risks of flooding and displacements of people living in high-risk areas.

Wet and humid conditions, the report adds, would create conditions for the spread of the coronavirus as social distancing might be disregarded in queues at shops, banks and bus ranks.

Zimbabwe is still recovering from the effects of Cyclone Idai, which affected parts of Manicaland and Buhera.

Over 340 people were killed in the weather phenomenon regarded as the worst to ever affect the Southern Hemisphere.

Experts have predicted normal to above-normal rainfall for the season, posing risks such as flooding, hailstorms as well as crop and animal diseases.

The National Contingency Plan targets early recovery from adverse impacts of the rainfall season.

Government has already set aside funds for potential emergencies.

Briefing journalists at last week’s post-Cabinet briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, said: “Regarding the country’s preparedness for emergencies likely to occur during the 2020/21 rainfall season, the Minister of Local Government and Public Works informed Cabinet that with high rainfall amounts expected during the 2020/21 rainfall season, the Government is getting ready to deal with anticipated disasters.

“This is in view of the widespread damage experienced in the past during Cyclone Dineo in 2017 and Cyclone Idai in 2019. Accordingly, the National Contingency Plan for the 2020/2021 rainfall season has been crafted to deal with the wide range of hazards expected, which may include flash flooding, severe thunder, wind, hail storms, landslides, major human and animal disease as well as crop pest outbreaks.

“Cabinet resolved to capacitate departments that are critical in early warning systems, and approved a budget amounting to US$32 million for the facilitation of early recovery from potential adverse impacts from the 2020/2021 rainfall season.”