Floods destroy homes in Chipinge amid looming cyclone Chalene

A heavy downpour in Chipinge

By Own Correspondent

Mwacheta village in Chief Musikavanhu area, Chipinge, received heavy rains from the eve of Christmas up to Christmas Day with the result that houses were destroyed and food items including hens were swept away leaving the villagers in a quandary of huge proportions.

Eyewitnesses say the rains started on 24 December and continued up to Christmas Day at 1600 hours. The situation was compounded by the flooded Nyamukungwa River whose origins are in the upper part of Chipinge in the Chikore area.

Because of that, the flooded river gushed into people’s homes wreaking havoc on the social and economic lives of the people.

Ward 16 Ccouncillor, Mr Raphias Mapahla Sithole, said: ‘’It began raining on Thursday at five minute intervals for the whole night; we woke up on Christmas Day to witness a relentless pounding of our houses. It only stopped at about 4pm.’’

‘’Nyamukungwa River at Mwacheta turn off flooded and it went straight to people’s homes which could not withstand the pressure. Previously, Greenfuel had provided a grader to divert the waters into the fields once a flood occurs.’’

The Chairperson of Kanyi Redu Development Association, a community development oriented grouping of people whose origin is Chipinge, Mr Sinoten Damascus Chabarirwa, said his group wishes to join hands with the Civil Protection Unit and other agencies in combating and mitigating the effects of the flooding.

‘’We will join hands in fighting the consequences of the flooding. As KREDA, we will be putting foot soldiers to spread awareness campaigns on the dangers of flash floods and the need to go to higher ground with the impending landfall of yet another cyclone. However, we believe that moving people permanently to higher ground is a long term solution and the construction of dams wherever possible to ebb out severe floods and instead have a greenbelt could be a boon for the local people,’’ said Chibarirwa.

Some of the families whose houses were affected are: Chimana, Zinhuku, Semwayo and Machini.

The Member of Parliament for Chipinge West, Mr Sibonile Nyamudeza, said he had consulted the Civil Protection Unit in order to map the way forward in view of the human disaster unfolding.

‘’The rain may have subsided for now but I have already contacted the Civil Protection Unit to see how best we can help these families whose livelihoods have been destroyed and right now, the children and the aged are in trouble with the elements,’’ he said.

The rains which have left a trail of destruction in their wake come against the background of Cyclone Chalene landfall on 30 December and the expected hardest hit areas would be Chimanimani and Chipinge. However, the Chipinge Civil Protection Unit has already met had carried out campaigns on where in each ward people should go to if the cyclone hit their area.

Since Cyclone Eline hit Chipinge in 2000, the district has not been spared from the ravages of climate change induced floods with Cyclone Idai hitting Chipinge’s neighbour, Chimanimani, very hard on 15 March 2019.

Credit: The Herald