Disaster preparedness intensifies ahead of rains

Government has started reserving some of the Covid-19 donations for contingent disaster management plans as the country approaches the rainy season, which might displace some families, an official has said.

Several companies, development partners and individuals have come forward to make Covid-19-related donations as part of efforts to mitigate challenges related to the mandate which has claimed lives of more than 200 in the country.

In an interview, Department of Civil Protection director, Mr Nathan Nkomo said following a forecast by the Meteorological Services Department of normal-to-above normal rainfall, they anticipated floods in some low lying areas.

“We have received several donations from various corporates, development partners and even individuals that have been channelled through His Excellency the President. We are the custodians of most of the donations and as a proactive measure, we will not distribute all the items. We have started reserving some of them such as grain and money as we approach the rainy season,” said Mr Nkomo.

“We are aware that we are approaching the rainy season where according to weather forecast, some places will receive a lot of rains. We will therefore reserve some food and non-food items as a contingent. But for the perishables we are distributing to various hospitals across the country.”

Mr Nkomo said some of the Covid-19 donations were being used to construct isolation centres.

“We are channelling some of the resources towards construction of isolation centres. The process is going on well. We are also happy to report that the fuel challenge that has handicapped our work is now a thing of the past following improvement in the supply of fuel,” said Mr Nkomo.

He said bank accounts had been opened to cater for the cash donations.

“The money is kept separately, there is a United States dollar account, rand and a Zimbabwean dollar account,” he said.

Turning to the recent donation to President Mnangagwa last week from companies and organisations under the banner, “Iam4Byo-Fighting Covid-19”, Mr Nkomo said they had started identifying beneficiaries most of whom were hospitals across all provinces.

President Mnangagwa received an assortment of donations from various companies last week.

The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) donated $50 million, United Refineries Limited donated laundry equipment while the Ecumenical Leaders Forum donated 48 beds.

Gold producer How Mine donated a fully-equipped borehole, with the US diaspora donating 16 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, Edgars Stores chipped in with 400 sets of linen, the Hindu Society donated 100 mattresses and pillows, and Treger Group came in with fitted kitchens.

CBZ also donated $1 million, the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) donated ICU and high dependency beds (HDU) while BOC Gases cancelled the hospital’s previous debt and further donated an oxygen tank for piped oxygen.

Zimbabwe has been ranked number 102 by the World Health Organisation in fighting the pandemic.

The rankings were crafted in such a manner that countries in the single digit category did not do well in fighting the pandemic while those with double digits did better and those with three digits did well.

Countries that recorded the most deaths and infections such as the United States, Britain and Italy are in the single digit category.

President Mnangagwa said WHO had ranked countries according to how they were faring with regards to the impact and mitigation of the pandemic.

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