Tsholotsho a timely lesson for Mathema

Cain Mathema

DONATIONS that are now flowing to the people of Tsholotsho affected by floods demonstrate the importance of timely dissemination of information in times of natural disasters.

Tsholotsho villagers had last month complained that the government and other donors seemed to be pro-occupied with the Tokwe-Mukosi floods disaster to their detriment.

It was natural for the government to deploy most of its energies in averting disaster at the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam basin by mobilising international support for the victims because of the scale of the problem.

However, this did not mean that other areas affected by floods had to be ignored. It took the media to expose the neglect of the Tsholotsho villagers at a time the local Civil Protection Unit (CPU) appeared determined to keep the disaster under wraps.

A few weeks after a Cabinet team was forced to visit Tsholotsho, companies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are making a beeline to donate to the victims.

Edgars on Wednesday became the latest corporate to come to the rescue of the flood victims with a donation of 400 blankets.

The company said its response was prompted by the media coverage of the floods.

Provincial Affairs minister Cain Mathema who received the donation for the first time announced that besides Tsholotsho that had 200 families affected by floods, other areas such as Binga, Nkayi and Umguza also faced a similar problem.

Problems in these other two districts may not be as bad as in Tsholotsho, but that does not mean that the victims do not need assistance. Mathema and his CPU team must draw valuable lessons from the way they mishandled the floods because this is a problem they are likely to face in future rainy seasons.

We live in an information age and timely dissemination of news pertaining to people battling a natural disaster would ensure timely interventions. CPU clearly has no capacity to alleviate suffering of people bedevilled with such tragedies and as such the involvement of corporates and NGOs becomes crucial.

Donors such as Edgars that have come forward should be applauded for standing up to be counted.