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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Harare City Council in flash floods boob

Story by Theophilus Chuma

IN the wake of flash floods that affected Budiriro 5 Cabs area homeowners, it has emerged that the Harare City Council ignored an Environmental Impact Assessment issued by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

The Budiriro floods disaster could have been averted had the Harare City Council taken into consideration advice from EMA.

According to the latest information, an Environmental Impact Assessment conducted by EMA demarcated coordinates for the area, which clearly outlined the dangers of allocating stands on the pathway of the river course.

“All these houses which you see submerged in water were condemned by EMA a long time ago. EMA noted that all the stands they red flagged out of their coordinates were not supposed to be used or inhabited,’ said a Budiriro resident, Catherine Mugore.

The local authority has not acted on the Environmental Impact Assessment report from EMA.

EMA Principal Officer Mr Liberty Mugadza said, “An Environmental Impact Assessment must be done before any construction takes place but for the situation on the ground that was not done and efforts to ratify after the council had allocated land were then done when the council approached EMA. An ecological assessment was done and demarcations were put where it’s possible to build and where it cannot be done. All this information was given to the planning department at the local authority. Now what is coming to our surprise is the time taken to effect the necessary changes.”

The consequences have been massive for several families that are reeling under the reality of destroyed homes.

“The situation I am seeing here in Budiriro is vice versa. Instead of the council approaching EMA, they are inviting EMA to look into the current problems. The council claims the affected people illegally acquired the stands, but if you go to the residents, they actually have proof of payment to the council. So, it gives a discord to what is happening,” said the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association chairperson, Mr Takesure Musiiwa.

Faced with this reality, Harare City Council authorities are short of solutions and promises made three years ago are being repeated under the same circumstances.

Harare Mayor Councillor Jacob Mafume said, “We are going to find a lasting solution. We are going to give them a location where it is most appropriate.”

For the affected residents, their main worry lies not in the promises by the local authority, but in what lies ahead if the current situation persists.

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