Met Department ill resourced to predict weather patterns – Expert

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By Alois Vinga

THE Meteorological Services Department (MSD) is not adequately resourced in line with international best practices and as a result it has not been able to avail conclusive information on weather related issued in Zimbabwe.

This was revealed by Haanyadzisi Batisai, an operational meteorologist at MSD.

He was addressing guests at a Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) post drought assessment briefing Friday.

Batisai said that authorities are ignoring the capacitation of the MSD which is urgent considering the pace at which climate change is taking its toll on weather patterns.

“There is need to invest in an Automated Weather Stations which is more efficient and effective in these modern times.

“You will also realise that among other deficiencies, the city of Mutare for instance does not even have an MSD station,” he said.

Batisai raised concern that such a level of resource inadequacy adversely affects the speed and efficiency with which important weather information is disseminated and possible reaction to calamities.

Zimbabwe is still trying to come to terms with a devastating tropical cyclone that killed 200 people with hundreds others still unaccounted for.

Cyclone Idai also wreaked havoc in neighbouring Mozambique and Malawi destroying infrastructure worth millions of dollars.

Added Batisai: “So international best practices dictate that there should be a MSD station at least every 50 kilometers apart which is not the case in the country.”

Zimbabwe according to Batisai is also not investing much in water harvesting projects which if implemented could avert drought related effects.

“There is need to continue working towards water harvesting because if analyse that for instance the eastern part of the country received a lot of rains in some instances surpassing 400 milliliters which could have been used for irrigation had it been properly harvested,” said Batisai.

Most parts of Zimbabwe have been hit by a drought with millions now awaiting government and donor aid until the next season.