Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Meteorological Service Department (MSD) has identified 13 districts in the northern parts of the country that will be affected by a depressed Tropical Cyclone Ana, which landed in mainland Mozambique yesterday.
The downgraded Tropical Storm Ana will affect Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.
Districts such as Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutare, Mutasa, Nyanga, Mudzi, Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, Rushinga, Mt Darwin, Centenary, Mbire, Northern Hurungwe and Kariba Districts are expected to be affected by Tropical storm Ana.
All southern districts of Manicaland were yesterday expected to start receiving heavy rains, while some parts of Mashonaland provinces will start receiving significant downpours today.
Matabeleland region and the Midlands province are unlikely to be affected by Tropical Storm Ana, which is expected to remain in the country until Thursday.
In a statement last night, MSD said Tropical Storm Ana will cause heavy rains in the mentioned districts despite losing strength when it made a landfall in Mozambique.
“Tropical Storm Ana hit the Mozambican coast around noon near the town of Angoche with maximum gusts estimated at 110km/h and central pressure of 990 hPa. This falling over land turned the tropical storm into an overland depression, which is now losing strength,” reads the statement.
“However, strong winds will still continue near the centre for the next few hours before fading. Heavy rains are likely to cause flash floods, landslides and floods, and are moving westward and will continue affecting Mozambique and southern Malawi over the next 12 hours, then proceed to influence weather over northern Zimbabwe and southern Zambia.”
MSD said as result, the country is expected to receive excessive rains of above 50mm and strong winds in the affected districts.
It said rainfall of more than 50mm is too excessive as a vehicle can be washed away by about 30mm of rain.
Civil Protection Unit director Mr Nathan Nkomo said Government has stepped up efforts to attend to any rain related eventualities.
The national civil protection committee yesterday held a meeting to outline the plans it will undertake when the tropical depression affects districts.
He said Government has instructed the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to release 50 tonnes of maize to all the country’s provinces to cater for those that might be affected by floods.
Mr Nkomo commended MSD for narrowing down the districts that are likely to be affected by the depressed Tropical Storm Ana.
“More important was the presentation done by MSD which was talking about the movement of Tropical Storm Ana. It wasn’t a fully-fledged cyclone when that presentation was done. MSD was also highlighting the trajectory mentioning all the 13 districts in the alert in Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West, with the affected districts being Mt Darwin, Muzarabani, Mbire, Mudzi, northern Hurungwe and Kariba,” said Mr Nkomo.
“So at least when an alert becomes almost specific, it helps us intensify our preparation because we will not be guessing. So, we have alerted all those structures at provincial and district level to be on high alert and where possible respond.”
He said the grain will complement funds that have been allocated to all the provinces.
Mr Nkomo said the grain will be managed by Permanent Secretaries for Provincial Affairs and Devolution under the direction of their respective Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ministers to avoid diversion and possible pilferage.
“The grain is targeting those who will be affected by the rains. We might have cases where rooftops of their houses blown off and those are the people who will be affected. It’s a matter of positioning basic things that will be required by the people. If you check, our partners will come in handy with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) material, shelter as well as education material,” said Mr Nkomo.
He said it was satisfying that all examination classes will complete their public exams today and this comes in handy in better management of pupils as they are expected to be at their homes.
Mr Nkomo said while Government can implement various measures to minimise the impact of rain related disasters, communities have a huge role to protect themselves.
“We don’t have the powers to stop a tropical storm or a tropical cyclone, but our efforts are meant to minimise damages to property and to minimise loss of people’s lives,” said Mr Nkomo.
“We don’t want people who will try to cross flooded rivers, so people are advised to stay indoors.” – @nqotshili.