Cyclone Chalane moved into Zimbabwe early yesterday and is now moving across the country towards Botswana, losing strength as it downgrades from a tropical storm to a tropical depression.
The storm is bringing heavy rains and there are consequent dangers from flash floods in poorly-drained areas.
Five districts in and close to southern Manicaland are projected to receive above 100 millimetres over the three days between yesterday and tomorrow, with most of the rest of the country expected to receive 50mm to 100mm in the same three days.
Heavy rains and strong winds in Chimanimani saw a few houses lose their roofs and power supplies were disrupted, which has affected water supplies. But people in the lowest lying areas and the camps had been evacuated.
Emergency services remain on high alert and on standby to deal swiftly with any threat.
The downpours may result in reduced visibility and flash flooding in areas with poor drainage as well as along river basins. Mudslides and landslides as well as collapse of walls, due to excessive moisture, remain probable.
Government had moved some people in Chimanimani to safety, but with Chalane weakening had not issued any compulsory evacuation orders.
Awareness campaigns are being carried out through traditional media; television and radio and also through the local leadership to communicate the potential danger to the public.
“Tropical Depression Chalene is projected to sweep across Zimbabwe from 30 December 2020 to 01 January 2020, causing continuous rainfall and possible flooding in most parts of the country.
“Districts most likely to be affected by Chalene include Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutare, Buhera and Bikita, with the possibility of receiving above 100mm of rain within three days. The rest of the country is expected to receive rainfall between 50-100 mm during the same period,” she said. Sen Mutsvangwa said Government had, under the Emergency Services Subcommittee, convened its first preparedness planning meeting on December 23 and came up with an action plan.
“Treasury released $100 million towards implementation of the action plan which was distributed among Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North, Mashonaland West provinces and ZDF.
“We have identified and equipped evacuation centres with tents, blankets, food items, toiletries and other essentials,” she said.
No major infrastructural damage has been reported as yet on roads and bridges.
No injuries or deaths have been reported in Zimbabwe.