CPU intensifies relief efforts in Masvingo

From George Maponga in Masvingo
Government, through the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), here has intensified the movement of relief assistance to more than 1 500 households across four Masvingo districts that were affected by Cyclone Idai.

The tropical cyclone claimed four lives in Bikita, where mudslides also blocked roads in areas such as Mukore.

CPU teams together with the Zimbabwe Red Cross were on the ground yesterday, coordinating humanitarian assistance to affected families in Gutu, Bikita, Zaka and parts of Masvingo where some were left homeless.

Masvingo provincial administrator and head of  the CPU Mr Fungai Mbetsa said more than 1 500 households were affected by the cyclone, but was quick to point out that the situation was under control.

“We have despatched our CPU teams on the ground to assess the situation in the affected areas where people are receiving food, clothes and tents.

“The situation is under control and no more deaths have been reported today (yesterday).

“Our teams are on the ground and will continue to assess the situation,” he said.

“The Red Cross has been assisting by giving those left homeless tents for temporary shelter.

“There were some areas that were inaccessible yesterday (Sunday) such that we considered calling in a helicopter, but the situation is now better after water that was flowing over bridges subsided, allowing our teams to move in.”

Mr Mbetsa said the CPU teams were still on alert to address any fresh challenges.

He said in Bikita, over 1 000 households were affected by the cyclone, while available statistics showed that more than 150 were affected in Zaka, although concrete figures were still being worked out.

Mr Mbetsa said 256 households were affected by the cyclone in Gutu, with nearly 20 being on the receiving end in the eastern part of Masvingo District.

In parts of Bikita, there were reports yesterday that some areas around Mukore, huge boulders had fallen off adjacent mountains, covering roads and in the process blocking traffic after heavy rains sparked mudslides.

In other areas in the district, the falling boulders completely obliterated roads and enterprising youths were reportedly cashing in on the tragedy by charging motorists road access fees after clearing temporary crossing points.

Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira will today tour some of the areas hardest hit by the cyclone in Bikita, Zaka and Mutimurefu Prison.