News Column

State Beefs Up Aid to Flood Victims

February 11, 2014

George Maponga

Government has increased the number of trucks to relocate families in the Tokwe-Murkosi Dam flood basin in Chivi to 40 from 15, while more helicopters and boats will also be deployed.President Mugabe on Sunday declared the flooding a state of disaster, with 60 000 people downstream of the dam in immediate danger.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo yesterday said the Civil Protection Unit would commandeer all vital assets such as trucks, premises and even scotchcarts in and around the area to assist in the evacuation.

Initially, 15 trucks, six tractors and one Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopter had been deployed. Addressing flood victims in Kushinga Transit Camp during a visit by the Cabinet Committee on Civil Protection for an on-site assessment, Dr Chombo said the state of disaster empowered the CPU to commandeer all local assets to avoid losses of life and property.

Water levels at Tokwe-Murkosi Dam have risen to 677m above sea level and only about 101 families have been evacuated to Nuanetsi Ranch.

"Government, through the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa is currently working on a financial package that will see more helicopters from the Air Force of Zimbabwe and boats being deployed to help in the evacuation of families," Dr Chombo said.

"The package will also cater for things like fuel since the number of trucks has also been increased to 40. Our aim is to make sure that there is no loss of life and all assets such as trucks and even scotch-carts that will have been commandeered to assist in this exercise will be compensated and the total package for that will be announced in due course.

"We do not want bureaucracy to destroy the work that is being done here and everything must be done transparently." Dr Chombo said CPU director Mr Madzudzo Pawadyira was now stationed in Masvingo to monitor developments.

"The reason why we came here is to establish the exact number of affected people, that is the number of males, females, children and those who lost their property so that we can mobilise assistance and work out modalities of setting up things such as schools, clinics and even provide food at their new homes," he said. "We do not want anyone to starve and I also want to assure you that child will go to school."

NGOs and other partners could also help in drilling boreholes in Chingwizi and Masangula areas of the Nuanetsi Ranch where Dr Chombo said Government wanted orderly resettlement.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made, who was part of the delegation, said Government would provide affected families with food for 12 months through the Social Welfare Department.

Government assured families of free tillage at their new homes at Nuanetsi ranch. Dr Chombo and his team visited Tokwe-Murkosi Dam Wall where contractors are working around the clock to ensure the incomplete reservoir does not overflow.

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Source: AllAfrica

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