By Reason Razao | Senior Reporter
Over 100 families have been evacuated to temporary shelters following flash floods that displaced residents in Budiriro and Kuwadzana suburbs in Harare.
Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume has called for emergency measures and a multi-pronged approach to address the city’s housing crisis.
Speaking to the media in Harare on Friday, Mafume said about 100 families had taken up shelter at Budiriro 3 Primary School while about six to seven families had taken refuge at Kuwadzana 2 Primary School.
“They are going to Budiriro 3 primary school. We are working with the Civil Protection Unit. The directors there have provided dry food. We now have about 100 families in Budiriro 3,” said Mafume.
“We are going to move them to a vocational centre once we deal with the toilets because schools are going to open very soon.
“At Kuwadzana 2 primary school we have about six to seven families,” he added.
Mafume encouraged families in the flooded areas to go to the temporary shelters provided.
“We encourage families that are in those areas to go to these areas. Should flooding occur in other areas we will work with CPU to provide places for them to take people. They have provided transport and food and we as council have provided meat.”
Some of the flooded areas were newly allocated council residential stands.
Mafume has promised to compensate those allocated legally saying new and safer land will be allotted to them.
“For those that were allocated land legally and it is within an area where you cannot construct we are going to give them alternative land.
“For those that have gone and invaded land illegally. We are becoming uneasy as a council with the process of regularization of illegalities. We need to come up with a robust plan.
“We need to come with a ministry of housing. We have a national housing crisis as a country and as a city.”
The Mayor called for a multi-stakeholder approach to deal with the question of housing in the cities while advocating for a cheaper cost of building a decent house.
“We need to look at the materials we use to build houses. We need to reduce the cost of building a house. Our scientists must come up with cheaper means.
“We need to reduce the cost of building a house to US$5 000. That is a low-income house so §we can build them on a massive scale.
“Our building standards look like we are building in an earthquake zone. I think we can build decent accommodation using lesser standards so that people live in decent houses unlike the situation that we are facing,” said Mafume.