More support needed for tropical storm Ana victims

By Kenias Chivuzhe

TROPICAL storm Ana which destroyed over four hundred individual houses in Manicaland as well as roads and bridges has left communities in dire need of assistance to sustain their livelihoods and reconstruct destroyed houses.

Even though tropical storm Ana did not claim lives in Zimbabwe, the trail of destruction left when disaster struck has resulted in untold suffering in affected areas as more than four hundred families Manicaland province alone were left homeless. 

Pauline Padzuwa of Mutasa district who was with her child when disaster struck in the middle of the night on the fateful day narrates her ordeal.

“I was sleeping around 2am when disaster struck. That is the time when my house’s roof was blown off with the building collapsing. I then quickly move out of the house with my child. We then sought for help and slept at a relative’s house in the same village. When we returned in the morning, we discovered that even property was damaged with all buildings having been affected. I am staying at relatives’ houses up to today,” she said.

Padzuwa is among hundreds of people in her community who are in urgent need of assistance with village head Victor Nyakurima of Chidazembe area in Mutasa speaking on the need to revisit rural buildings construction standards to guard against such eventualities.

Said another villager: “We did not sleep as the situation was frightening. Around 5am the house started to collapse with the roof being blown off. We started to shift property from the affected houses but the houses continued to be affected. We thank the assistance we are being given but require cement to reconstruct the houses.”

“The house gave in to the power of storm and collapsed in the morning. We appeal for assistance for building materials especially cement to rebuild our houses,” another noted.

“It’s not the first time for this village to be affected by cyclones and storms but this time the number of destroyed houses are many. There is need to inspect houses constructed in this area so that we don’t realize destruction of houses when disaster strikes,” said another.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, which is on an assessment mission in the affected areas, has given a number of families immediate response materials and has pledged to engage its partners to mobilise more resources to assist the effected communities.

“Today we are doing assessment but as we do assessment, we are giving out immediate response materials that include tents, blankets, sanitary pads and face masks among other items. We continue to engage our partners so that we mobilize resources to help affected communities to build stronger structures that resist storms,” said Zimbabwe Red Cross Manicaland Provincial Manager Munyaradzi Chikukwa.

Apart from houses, tropical storm Ana has also damaged buildings at 26 institutions, eight culverts, eight bridges and eight roads in Manicaland province.