SENIOR STAFF WRITER
ACTING Local Government minister Jenfan Muswere has called on the public to avoid crossing flooded rivers and bridges following incidents in which numerous people have been swept away while others have been marooned.
Some provinces in the country continue to receive incessant rains which have resulted in flooding in areas such as Mutare, Chiredzi and Gweru.
Yesterday, six people were swept away in Gweru when the driver of a vehicle they were travelling in attempted to cross a flooded Gweru River.
This follows incidents in which some women and children were marooned and had to be rescued by Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopters while others were swept away in Chiredzi.
“I would like to urge all citizens to desist from crossing flooded rivers and bridges, especially during this rainy season which has been characterised by incessant rainfall across the country.
“Consequently, the ministry has been seized with numerous incidents and activated rescue efforts where citizens tried to cross flooded rivers and were marooned across the country,” Muswere said in a statement.
Department of Civil Protection (DCP) director Nathan Nkomo said there was a worrying trend, especially in Masvingo province where people continue to attempt to cross flooded rivers despite numerous calls and warnings to desist from the practice.
“We are noticing a worrying trend in Masvingo where people continue to cross flooded rivers despite warnings. Some have their fields across the rivers and they get marooned or swept away as they attempt to cross,” Nkomo said.
At the start of this month, Zimbabwe was expected to be hit by Cyclone Chalane, according to weather forecasts.
However, by the time the weather pattern reached these shores, Chalane had weakened into a depression, causing limited damage than earlier anticipated.
But low-lying areas like Guruve, Muzarabani and Mt Darwin were affected by the depression, but luckily due to the early warnings, the DCP managed to evacuate the residents to safe locations.