Provincial Child Protection and Civil Protection Committees on high alert for Cyclone Freddy Cyclone - Image taken from Shutterstock

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu and Leonard Ncube Online Reporters

THE Matabeleland South Provincial Child Protection Committee is on high alert for the impending Cyclone Freddy, which may hit the country today.

In its weather update last night, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) urged citizens in some districts in the southern parts of the country to be on high alert as a severe tropical Cyclone Freddy is expected to make landfall in the country today.

File pic: an area affected by a cyclone

Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which is now an overland depression will reach its peak intensity of 110km/h and make landfall in the early hours of Friday.

In an interview Matabeleland South provincial social welfare officer, Mr Criswell Nyakudya said the child protection committee will be working closely with the civil protection committee to provide child protection services.

“We are on high alert as the child protection committee and we have informed all members to ensure we are prepared to respond. In our province Beitbridge has been identified as one of the districts that will be affected. If disaster strikes we will move in to identify child protection issues such as a children that will be marooned or left homeless and in need for a safe place to stay, We have district committees who will be working closely with structures at grassroot level,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Civil Protection Committee (CPC) Hwange has said the district is prepared to protect the tourism industry from disaster, particularly the impending Cyclone Freddy.

The cyclone has already hit Madagascar and is headed towards Mozambique, with fears that it would enter Zimbabwe.

The provinces likely to be worst affected include, Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Matabeleland South and Harare Metropolitan, and Government has since ordered boarding schools there to suspend lessons tomorrow as part of mitigatory measures.

Speaking in Victoria Falls recently, Hwange District Development Coordinator Mr Simon Muleya, who chairs the district CPC said teams were on standby.

“The CPC is ready. The national office checks every province and district each day and i can safely say the CPC is in control of the situation and here in Hwange all teams have been activated and we are prepared to handle disasters,” said Mr Muleya.

He was responding to a concern raise by Victoria Falls City Mayor Councillor Somveli Dlamini during presentation of a seasonal livelihoods programming report handed over to the city council by World Food Programme, working with the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Institute of Development Studies.

The report, a product of a five-day consultative process by WFP with various stakeholders in the city, Government departments, development partners, civic society, residents and others, identified disasters such as floods and pandemics as some of the major challenges facing tourism.

Some of the shocks include human wildlife conflict, heat waves, low business and various social ills such as commercial sex work.

The report identified tourism as the major economic activity in Victoria Falls hence anything that disturbs the business affects livelihoods.

The sector was the hardest hit by the global Covid-19 pandemic due to travel restrictions.

Hwange and Victoria Falls urban are prone to flash flooding which has been a perennial challenge.

Government has said district CPUs countrywide have been mobilised and district development coordinators are required to be on standby to respond to any eventualities.

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