New Zimbabwe.com

Binga Floods: Hundreds Perched In Trees Without Food

By Matabeleland North Correspondent/Anna Chibamu

HUNDREDS of villagers are marooned between rivers in Binga’s Siabua and surrounding areas with some perched in trees after heavy rains fell in the Matabeleland North’s district Monday night.

The Air Force of Zimbabwe has mobilised two helicopters to airlift victims from the flood hit areas, according to a statement from the Ministry of Local Government.

The worst affected are low lying areas in Nsungwa, Chinginga, Nsenga under Chief Sinakoma.

The affected areas are inaccessible by road due to poor road network while telecommunications network is also erratic which caused the delay in reporting the floods as people had to walk about 10km to the nearest in search of mobile network to alert rescuers.

Floods occurred between Sibwambwa, Sikanda, Sinamapande Manyenyegwa rivers as they flow towards the Zambezi River, according to information from villagers in Binga.

Rescue teams comprising police including their Sub Aqua Unit from Bulawayo, government departments and all stakeholders under the District Civil Protection Unit (DCPU) headed to the affected area Tuesday morning.

Binga acting District Development Coordinator Farai Marinyame said preliminary reports showed that the situation was serious.

“The reports we got show that things are not well and we are going there as DCPU team. We will be able to give an update later in the day when we return,” he said.

Sources on the ground said scores of villagers were still in the mountains and trees in the afternoon. They lost food, livestock, clothes and other belongings.

At one of the areas the DCPU team reportedly watched helplessly as victims could be heard calling for help from trees but with no means of crossing to reach them.

The road linking Binga to Siabua was reportedly cut-off as Nandobe bridge on one of the rivers was swept away.

Binga North Member of Parliament Prince Dubeko Sibanda said about 120 families were perched on trees in Nsenga, Chinginga and Nsukwale.

Matabeleland North Minister of State Richard Moyo said arrangements were being made to airlift the victims to safer locations.

The Ministry of Local Government in a statement said there are 21 families that were marooned in a flood plain while 11 others had been rescued to safety.

“The rapid assessment by the DCPU indicates that there could be more people affected considering the general settlement patterns in the district.

The ministry said 100 tents and blankets had been mobilised while short term rescue initiatives are being worked on.

Some of the Binga communities are situated in low lying areas along the Zambezi river where they relocated for easy access to the river for fishing and for farming purposes.

Meanwhile, in Harare the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has ordered the Leader of Government in the House of Assembly Ziyambi Ziyambi to urgently liaise with the Local Government Minister July Moyo and the CPU to assist the Binga community.

Ziyambi is also the Justice Minister.