Harare not taking chances on Cyclone Kenneth

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
The Department of Civil Protection is using the local leadership in flood-prone areas to communicate tips and advice on Cyclone Kenneth to avoid loss of life in the event that the tropical storm hits Zimbabwe.

This follows a warning by the Meteorological Services Department on Cyclone Kenneth which was projected to make landfall near the Tanzanian border with Mozambique last night at a speed of approximately 200 kilometres an hour.

The department said it will not take any chances this time after drawing major lessons from experiences from the unprecedented destructive nature of the recent Cyclone Idai.

The MSD said areas that were likely to be affected by heavy rains till Saturday were the southern parts of Tanzania, northern provinces of Mozambique and Malawi.

“No rain is projected for Zimbabwe during this period till Saturday. Mostly sunny and warm conditions are anticipated as we enter the weekend. The department will continue monitoring conditions and update the nation accordingly,” said MSD in a statement.

SADC Climate Services Centre (CSC), said the cyclone destruction potential scale remains a catastrophic stage six with over 600mm to be received over northern Mozambique.

“The expected pathway is tracked to pass over Moroni Comoros and will landfall over Pemba Mozambique. The system is expected to make landfall over northern Mozambique shortly on 25 April 2019. Heavy rainfall are also expected over Lesotho, East South Africa and Tanzania,” read the SADC CSC statement.

DCP director, Mr Nathan Nkomo said the issue was not about whether the cyclone would hit Zimbabwe or not but preparing in the event that the worst happens.

“We want to give people some tips and form SMS platforms in their local areas. Now that we are paying traditional leaders through mobile money transfer we also want to make use of such platforms by sending messages.

“Our traditional leadership structures are important. They have got resisters of each person in their areas. In the event that something of a bigger magnitude happens we need to know missing people and so on. This is why we are working with traditional leadership. The challenge is the floating population such as traders and gold panners.

“I have urged district administrators to disseminate information through mobile platforms and local leadership and this is the only way we can reach out to many in case the cyclone degenerates into a disaster,” he said.

Mr Nkomo said CPU and MSD worked hand in hand to reduce negative impact of disasters such as cyclones.

“The MSD’s role is to give early warning and we protect the people. We cannot relax when the MSD issues a statement.

“If the cyclone does not affect Zimbabwe, then it’s good for us but if it does, at least people will be prepared than being caught unaware.

“I talked the Cabinet Committee on Environment, Disaster Prevention and Management, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo who instructed me to issue the statement.

“The wind will be moving at a speed of approximately 200km per hour and when it gets to Mozambique that speed all of a suddenly disappears? I do not take chances. There are times when we need also to quickly react to such situations. We should take warnings seriously,” he said.