TSHOLOTSHO North MP Roselyn Nkomo has expressed concern over the failure of the Civil Protection Union (CPU) to hold flood awareness campaigns in the area, saying it raised questions on the preparedness of the government’s disaster response and management body.
Tsholotsho is a flood-prone area.
Nkomo said torrential rains had so far left a trail of destruction in her constituency, even razing to the ground a house belonging to councillor Elmen Ncube in Ntulule area. She claimed that “the CPU has been nowhere to be seen”.
The MP indicated that villagers needed to be informed on where to seek shelter and help should there be floods, noting that this called on the CPU to embark on awareness campaigns to assure everyone of its preparedness.
“The rains are causing damage in the constituency and the CPU has not been seen anywhere despite the fact that it is a well=known fact that Tsholotsho is a flood-prone area,” she lamented.
“One would have expected to see the CPU busy on the ground, especially when there are floods to show that it is capable of responding to any eventuality.
“The inactivity of the CPU is quite disturbing.
“They should, for example, be holding awareness campaigns to tell villagers where to go and seek help and shelter in the event of floods. They should even be consulting villagers asking them about their needs after these rains that have caused some damage.”
Nkomo said this was necessary to prevent a repeat of last year when the government faced accusations of failing to help Tsholotsho floods victims.
Villagers at the time accused government of neglect by turning a blind eye to their plight and only stampeding to help Masvingo flood victims.
The government declared Masvingo floods a national disaster and sent appeals to raise nearly $20 million for emergency assistance.
In Tsholotsho, floods left a trail of destruction, razing homesteads and crops. Villagers said the government should have declared their situation an emergency.
Tsholotsho district administrator, Nosizi Dube, who chairs the districts’ CPU, denied that the agency was not prepared for the floods, although she indicated that there was no emergency budget if disaster struck.
“We are ready,” she said.
“The CPU was activated and it has always been on standby. That is why we have managed to attend to all incidents that have happened in Tsholotsho.
“We don’t keep money (at our offices). It is in Harare . . . we will mobilise resources when the need arises.”
Dube said they had meetings and were working on dealing with problems that might arise due to the rains.
“We are in a meeting and we are working towards problems that might arise during this season,” she said.
“We are looking at how we would handle the situation should it arise.”