30 December 2020
Staff Reporter /PetoriaLIVE
Pretoria – Zimbabwe’s Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has started evacuating people in the eastern parts of the country most vulnerable to tropical storm Chalane, which is expected to make landfall on Wednesday.
The storm has reached the Mozambique Channel and meteorological services said it was expected to intensify before making landfall in central Mozambique.
Thereafter it’s expected to sweep into Zimbabwe later in the day, with the likelihood of affecting most parts of the country if it continues with its detected intensity.
People in Chimanimani, a small farming town, and surrounding areas bordering Mozambique – still reeling from the effects of the devastating Cyclone Kenneth and Cyclone Idai last year and Cyclone Dineo in 2017 – have started to be evacuated.
Fears are mounting because before the storm arrives, some areas such as Chibuwe village are already experiencing floods due to heavy rainfall.
Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana tweeted: “Evacuation is currently under way in Chimanimani as the government prioritises residents’ safety in case Chalane hits the area with a devastating effect.”
Chimanimani member of parliament Joshua Sacco said the ministry of health had provided clinics with medicine and there were teams on standby to rescue people if they were stranded on the roads. He advised people to avoid travelling to areas where the storm was expected to hit hard.
Schools and churches in the danger zones have offered as shelter to those evacuated. The Zimbabwe government said it has availed R439.8 million for disaster response.
The country’s fourth-largest city Mutare was also been put on high alert.
“People in low-lying areas of Mutare such as Zimta and Bernwin and those living in temporary accommodation such as Federation and Kimboki are being advised to find alternative accommodation before disaster strikes,” read a statement from the municipality.
The Zimbabwe Meteorological Services department said on Monday the incoming storm could be as powerful as Cyclone Dineo of 2007.
Dineo destroyed an estimated 20,000 homes in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, displacing at least 130,000 people. It led to widespread flooding in Zimbabwe’s Mutare, Chiredzi and Beitbridge, floods in Botswana and a cholera outbreak that hit Malawi and Mozambique.
Meanwhile, Malawi’s department of disaster management affairs said the country was prepared to respond to the storm.
More to follow…….