“President must declare floods a disaster,” – MIHR

Tuesday, 28 February 2017  Radio Dialogue

BULAWAYO - A human rights lobbyist organisation has urged the government of Zimbabwe to declare recent Cyclone Dineo induced floods in Matabeleland and Midlands a humanitarian disaster.

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) says President Robert Mugabe, must declare the current Matabeleland floods a humanitarian disaster and at the same time call for international support to empower and enable the affected communities.

In a statement, MIHR general secretary, Benedict Sibasa, said the President acting in his capacity as Head of State and government needs to ensure the protection, promotion and fulfilment of the rights of the people of Matabeleland affected by the floods.

He the President ought to declare the floods a humanitarian disaster and invite international support to alleviate the plight of the communities.

He said heavy rains that have been pounding most parts of Matabeleland South and some parts of Matabeleland North especially in Tsholotsho, and parts of Bulilima, parts of Mangwe, parts of Nkayi and parts of Matobo Districts left a trail of destruction.

“The negative effects of the floods include among others loss of human lives, destruction of homes, destruction of public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, dams, schools, school toilets, clinics; death of livestock and destruction of crops in the fields.

“The cyclone has also resulted in massive vegetation destruction and environmental degradation,” said Sibasa.

He said the Members of House of Assembly and Senators from Matabeleland should also urge the President to make this declaration.

“Members of House of Assembly and Senators from Matabeleland to push for an urgent motion to urge the President to make this declaration.

“It is the duty of Members of Parliament to represent their Constituencies and to ensure that all agencies of the government including the Executive are accountable to the Parliament.”

Torrential downpours that have been pounding Matabelaland provinces have severely affected schoolchildren with some of them skipping classes for some days due to flooding.

The cyclone has left hundreds homeless as they have lost their houses and properties to the floods.

Flood victims in Tsholotsho, Sipepa area are recounting massive losses from the violent storms and are living in fear of losing more due to the long term effects of the floods.

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