By Steve Ephraem
THE coming of rainy season in Chimanimani is received with mixed feelings. As an agro based district, the rains mean the beginning of a farming season. One thing that comes in the mind of Chimanimani folks if the rains will remain normal or will develop into another disaster.
Normal rains were received in December 2021 a sign that Climate Change is at play since Chimanimani and most parts of the country used to receive rains between October and November. It is this Climate Change issue that sees Chimanimani hit by heavy storms now and again.
The worst disaster received by Chimanimani was that of Tropical Cyclone Idai which ravaged the area in March 2019 and caused the death of more than 250 people and another equivalent number missing and thousands others injured.
The ordeal started on 15 April 2019, with the first casualties recorded at St Charles Lwanga High School where a security guard and two boys lost life after huge rocks and mudslide affected the premises at night.
Reports of Ngangu township disaster came the following day.
The catastrophe reduced the place to scenery of damaged and overturned vehicles, destroyed houses, piles of bold, rare rocks, uprooted trees, and mudslides that buried people.
Floods carried away a bus that belonged to Tripura’s near Nhedziwa carrying 10 passengers a driver and a conductor. The bus conductor and two female passengers lost life. One of the female passengers, a Chipinge based entrepreneur had her body recovered at Nyanyadzi, more than 30 km from the scene of accident.
Infrastructure was destroyed, bridges along Wengezi and Skyline in Chimanimani West making the areas difficult to be accessible by road.
Kopa Business Centre had its own ordeal.
Floods swept away a settlement which housed agricultural extension workers (popularly known as Madhumeni), a police post, some religious buildings and other houses.
Kopa is where Rusitu, Nyahode and Chipita rivers meet. The floods carried the huge, rare rocks and tree trunks. The width and depth of Nyahode River at Kopa has increased immensely.
For some of those who are still missing, suspicion is very rife that they constitute those whose bodies were recovered downstream in Mozambique.
Tropical Storm Ana (2022)
The battle between nature and humans is still alive. Chimanimani is on the receiving side again following Tropical Storm Ana which hit Madagascar and Mozambique this week.
From the 24 January 2022, Chimanimani started receiving heavy rains and strong winds. The storm and winds reached their peak on January 25 which saw some infrastructure giving in to the nature.
In a statement that was issued by the Member of Parliament for Chimanimani East, Hon Joshua Sacco on the evening of January 26 2022, he outline that some areas were no longer passable and people had to avoid travelling.
“I want to give you an update this evening. We are still receiving heavy rains in Chimanimani and surrounding areas. Here at Machongwe, it’s raining heavily. Yesterday evening, heavy downpours were received at Cashel [Valley], Chisengu, Rusitu, Chikukwa and other areas.
I warn everyone to stay indoors until the storm is over. We are hit by a problem of a bridge on Twin River which has been dislodged at Mutsangazi area. Also, Muchira Bridge just after Kurwaisimba towards Muchadziya has been damaged” Sacco said.
“A landslide has happened at the SS sharp curves and it is not passable. At Cashel [Valley], a bridge has been damaged after Svunirai towards the police camp. So let’s stay indoors and avoid travelling unless if we are instructed to vacate to evacuation centres by our councillors or traditional leaders,” said Hon Sacco.
It seems the climate change woes are repeat season after season. Will they be over soon?
The answer to that question may not be certain since destruction of the environment which causes the depletion of ozone layer did not happen within a blink of an eye. It took years and reversing it might also require a complete generation.
The only thing we are certain of is that people can start to work towards reclamation of the damaged environment now. It’s never too late to engage in climate change mitigation programs or even adapt to lifestyles which help conserve the environment.
Currently Tropical Storm Ana has left a trail of destruction in most parts of Manicaland with Chimanimani, Nyanga and Mutasa on top of the list.
Houses and crops bridges and other infrastructures were destroyed since Sunday evening pushing the government to be ready to assist the affected families.
Provincial Development Coordinators are on the watch with the Civil Protection Unit and other organizations coming into to assist displaced families with shelter, food and other amenities.