Flood waters subside but leave substantial damages to infrastructure; Some 8,490 people have been affected
Flood waters are slowly subsiding around the country including at the worst affected spot, Beitbrige where transportation came to a stand still and operations at the border crossing had to be halted on 19 and 20 January. The heavy downpours across Zimbabwe have destroyed road networks, houses and schools; in the worst instances floods have claimed lives through collapsing building, drowning and vehicles being swept away. Police say at least 86 people have drowned and 38 others killed by lightning since the onset of the rainy season in September last year. On 22 January, three children died when the house they were sleeping in collapsed after heavy rains and gushing flood waters .
While the rains are slowly subsiding, February is the peak rainy season and the Department of Civil Protection (DCP), has already warned that “ there is a lot of backflows in the Mzingwane, Shashe and Bubye River as a result of high flows in the Limpopo River leading to the major tributaries failing to discharge into the Limpopo. All areas around the confluence are under threat of major flooding.” Discussions in the DCP and with partners are ongoing about possible evacuations for communities in flood-prone areas.
The Department of Civil Protection (DC) has been leading assessments with NGO partners. It is now estimated that 8,490 people have been affected, out of which 4,615 are requiring humanitarian assistance in the form of emergency shelter and/ or non-food items (blankets, clothes, cooking utensils, hygiene packs).
On 22 January, OCHA held a meeting with cluster leads and several NGOs to gauge level of preparedness for response, availability of emergency stocks as well as facilitating information flow to enable a coordinated response in support to the Government. IOM is leading the coordination of NFI. distribution and coordinating with OCHA on gaps and resource mobilisation.
The major damages have been in the infrastructure sector with roads, bridges being washed away, cutting off communities from their day-today access to social and economic activities. There are mounting concerns that the aftermath of the heavy rains may have health, water, sanitation and hygiene impacts as health and sanitation conditions deteriorate in the rainy season. The Environment Health Alliance, in support to the Ministry of Health are vigilant and are maintaining high surveillance networks for water borne disease outbreaks.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.