Zimbabwe: Inter-Agency Flooding Rapid Assessment Report Tsholotsho District, 23 - 24 February 2017


Main Objective of the assessment

The main purpose of the Inter-Agency rapid assessment was to ascertain the scale and scope of the flooding situation focusing on key areas/sectors namely shelter and non-food items, Health and nutrition, Food security, WASH, Environment, Education and Protection.

Specific Objectives of the Assessment

  • To determine the number of the affected people and establish their demographic characteristics

  • To determine the immediate, intermediate and long term needs of the affected communities


  • Key informant interviews with the Provincial and District Administrators;

  • Focus group discussions with the District and Ward level Civil Protection Committees;

  • Secondary analysis of sectoral reports;

  • A Transect walk of the camp;

  • Household and Community FGDs;

  • Household interviews.

1.1 Background of the flooding

On Monday the 13th February 2017 the Meteorological Services Department issued a high alert for a tropical cyclone that was forecasted to affect the country from Thursday 16 to Monday 20 February 2017.
According to the initial alert, the areas that were likely to be impacted most were Masvingo, Southern areas of Manicaland, and Matabeleland South province

As part of preparedness measures the Department of Civil Protection called for the activation of all Civil Protection structures at national and sub national levels in order to ensure effective preparedness and response to any potential emergency arising from the cyclone whilst the Meteorological Services Department continued to monitor the trajectory and strength of the cyclone. Efforts were made to ensure that flood awareness campaigns were conducted in-order to mitigate the negative impacts of the flooding.

Manifestation of the floods

Tropical Cyclone Dineo graduated into a tropical depression on the 16th of February however it still caused heavy precipitation in Bulawayo, Tsholotsho, Matobo, Kezi, Umzingwane, Bulilima, Gokwe South and Mberengwa districts causing riverine and flash flooding and subsequent destruction of livelihoods and properties. Gwayi river burst its banks which culminated in the inundation of homes and schools infrastructure causing considerable damage to property and livelihoods. A total of 859 people were displaced, of which 54% or 460 are children.

Historically Tsholotsho district has a background of being flood prone as shown on Fig 1 below. The population at risk is situated in a low lying area where height above the river channel base is very low.In 1978, a number of areas namely Mapili, Mbamba, Mahlosi, Mahlaba, Mbanyana and Tamuhla experienced flooding due to the bursting of Gwayi River and its tributaries. The same areas were affected by floods in 2001 and in 2013 leading to communities being evacuated and settled at Sipepa Rural Health Centre.

The population at risk is some parts of Ward 5 (Sipepa) and Ward 6 (Jimila) . The estimated population at medium to high risk is over 6,000 people and high risk (1,500) people however currently a total of 859 people were displaced due to flooding. An additional 100 people were also affected by the flooding but had not yet been relocated.