Dry Spell Caused by Tropical Cyclone Funso Devastates Zimbabwe Crops

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01 February 2012

Gibbs Dube | Washington

Tropical cyclone Funso, which has been dumping heavy rains on the coastal regions of Mozambique and Swaziland, has ironically brought misery to the southwest of Zimbabwe where villagers say their crops have wilted due to a lack of rain.

Zimbabwe Meteorological Services Director Tichaona Zinyemba said the lack of rains in Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Manicaland and parts of Midlands province is due to dry continental air being pushed by cyclone Funso into Zimbabwe.

Zinyemba said the dry conditions are likely to be causing havoc in these regions where some fields have been turned into dust bowls. Villagers said they are now appealing for food aid following the ruin of their crops.

Zinyemba said cyclones can devastate crops in various ways."They can either bring heavy rains or dry weather conditions leading to the destruction of crops," he said.

Gwanda North lawmaker Thandeko Zinti Mkandla said Matabeleland South crops are almost a write-off at this point. Matobo villager Bekithemba Nkomo said crops have been hit hard. "The situation is hopeless in all parts of Matobo," Nkomo said.