ZIMBABWE. Harare: Zimbabwe and Malawi have taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of people against Cyclone Chalane that may hit other parts of Southern Africa as well. In Zimbabwe, the disaster has been predicted to hit most parts of the country from December 31 to January 3. A tropical storm made landfall near the central Mozambique city of Beira early on Wednesday.
Chimanimani is likely to get affected the most as it borders Mozambique in the Eastern part of the country. In March last year, Cyclone Idai wreaked havoc in Chimanimani. This year, history is seeming to repeat itself again.
Awareness campaigns towards the disaster
This time the country has indicated its preparedness by sending awareness messages on all platforms through different service providers.
Talking to Transcontinental Times, Mellisa Pemhenukai, a survivor of Cyclone Idai said that this year people are prepared as they are aware of actions to take when such disasters occur. “We are prepared because now we know how to cope with such situations. There have been groups that have been created and we have been trained on disaster risk management”, she said.
Civil Protection Unit (CPU) through telecommunication service providers has sent awareness messages to subscribers notifying them about the disaster.
The message read “We are anticipating that a cyclone will hit the country soon. The public is advised to prepare to be moved to safer areas.”
Precautionary actions being taken by the authorities
In a statement, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said, “The Chimanimani and Chipinge Civil Protection Committees have intensified dissemination of early warning messages among potentially-affected communities.”
“Evacuation centers have been identified in both districts, mainly in schools. The Government has indicated that people displaced by Cyclone Idai who are still living in four camps in Chimanimani will be moved to safe centers at St Patrick’s High School and Nyanyadzi Training Centre on 28 December.”
Chalane, a tropical cyclone that originated from the East of Madagascar on the Indian ocean, landed in Mozambique and is expected to spread westwards to Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Preparedness of Malawi
A report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) shows that Malawi is no longer projected to be directly impacted, due to the southwards change in the storm’s predicted trajectory. Meanwhile, authorities in Malawi have said that the country is ready for the damaging effects that cyclone Chalane may cause.
Director of Malawi’s Department of Meteorological Services, Jolamu Nkhokwethe has said that the cyclone will interfere with systems that cause brings heavy rains in Malawi. “Once it influences the pattern of the Congo air mass and the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zones( ICTZ), then we are in trouble,” he warned.
Deployment of the rescue team
The Malawi government through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA), said that it has sent rescue teams to assist in the evacuation of affected people in case floods hit the southern African country. Director James Chiusiwa said that the rescue teams are from the military, police, and the Marine Department.
On March 15, 2019, Cyclone Idai wreaked havoc in the Chimanimani area, Manicaland Province. The disaster is unforgettable as many people had lost their lives during that time.