Churches Offer Evacuation Centres As Cyclone Chalane Response

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi 

THE Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) is putting in place a number of response mechanisms to the anticipated Cyclone Chalane expected to hit the eastern parts of the country in a few days’ time.

These include offering some of its mission schools as evacuation centres for those affected by the harsh weather phenomenon.

“To date, a number of mission schools have been designated as evacuation centres, the ZCC has put aside a small fund on standby for food support,” ZCC secretary general, Rev Kenneth Mtata told Sunday.

He added, “The ZCC trained pastors in psychosocial support (PSS) during Cyclone Idai disaster will now be activated to complement DSS in trauma counselling given fresh memories of traumatic Idai and Covid-19.

“The ZCC is activating its member churches which are decentralised across the country in all provinces to support the Met department in disseminating accurate early warning cyclone tracking information, using different languages found in Zimbabwe.

“We have put four staff members including two managers, to be on standby to accompany the response and a 4×4 vehicle has been deployed to Chipinge for mobility.

“The ZCC will be giving its member churches and partners regular updates as the situation unfolds and will carry out a rapid assessment in affected areas to establish the extent of the damage and requirements.

“We are reaching out to partners to and appeal for further support to assist affected families with food, non-food items, shelter, water and sanitation, education, health, protection, PSS and counselling services, depending on community needs.”

According to the Department of Metrological Services, the weather conditions experienced in Chipinge so far have shown an abnormal pattern that often is associated with cyclone.

Met reports show that there is low-pressure system developing in the Indian Ocean and it’s too early to categorise this as a cyclone, but these often converge into cyclone.