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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has declared Harare metropolitan province’s road network a state of disaster, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has announced.Harare’s roads have been badly affected by incessant rains with potholes now making some of them virtually impassable.

“Harare metropolitan province has suffered the brunt of the La Nina phenomena and has received rainfall amounts of 120% to 200% above normal. These excessive rains have decimated the road network throughout the province,” he told journalists in Harare yesterday.

“Given the magnitude of the extensive damage to the road network and the attendant risk to injury, loss of life together with the economic impact of an unusable road network, His Excellency, the President, has declared a state of disaster in regard to the road network in Harare metropolitan province in terms of subsection (1) of section 27 of the Civil Protection Act chapter 10.06.”

Kasukuwere said a response strategy and resource mobilisation programme was being crafted to mitigate the disaster.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Services Department has warned that Cyclone Dineo, which started off the Mozambican Channel, will hit the southern provinces of Zimbabwe starting last night for a period of 24 hours threatening lives of thousands of villagers along its path into Botswana.

The department’s head of forecasting, Tichaona Zinyemba, said they were working in partnership with the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) warning people in the cyclone’s path to evacuate to higher ground.

“The cyclone will bring lots of rains and pretty strong winds at speeds of up to 68km/hr and this would affect mainly areas in the south-eastern districts such as Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Zvishavane, Chipinge and Beitbridge,” he said.

Zinyemba pointed out that even if the rains might not be very heavy, they would cause damage because of the saturation of the ground.

The cyclone has since been downgraded to a tropical storm by other regional meteorological services.

The under-resourced CPU has said it is working with development partners to offer temporary shelter and food to the victims of the cyclone.

Principal administrative officer in the CPU, Lameck Betera said there were on the ground monitoring the situation and encouraging people to evacuate.

“We have issued warnings for people to evacuate from the areas that will be directly affected. The department is working with co-operating partners like World Vision to assist would-be victims,” he said.

Source-Newsday








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