Four provinces at risk of cyclone Idai – Met Dept warns

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

AT least four provinces in Zimbabwe are set to be affected negatively by a tropical cyclone expected to make landfall Sunday, the Meteorological Department has said.

According to an alert by the Meteorological Service Department, tropical cyclone Idai will affect villagers and residents in Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central provinces with floods expected.

“Communities should be on the lookout for flooding and rising water levels and must quickly move to safety places when necessary to do so,” the Meteorological Services Department warned.

“In case of strong winds it is safer to shelter in houses with the strongest roofs and to close all windows and doors. All open pits near homes schools and along children’s pathways must be filled up or closed.”

The department also warned citizens against attempting to drive through flooded rivers.

“It is unsafe to walk, swim, drive through flood water or venture into unsafe and disused mines,” said the warning.

Children in particular are in danger and parents have been urged to be on the lookout.

“Children must be supervised and never play near pools, or dangling electrical power lines and report such to Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company or to the nearest police station,” added the department.

Reports says the cyclone has hit the coast of neighbouring Mozambique and is expected to hit some parts of Manicaland by Saturday

Two years ago the country was hit by cyclone Dineo in southern parts Matabeleland and the Midlands province leaving a trail of destruction. The disaster preparedness of the Civil Protection Unit has which in the past has been found wanting will once again come into sharp focus.

Some bridges washed away by cyclone Eline in 2001 are yet to be repaired, 18 years on.