Wednesday, 23 December 2020

ZIM ON ALERT AS CYCLONE CHALANE BUILDS

The country is on alert for a tropical cyclone that is developing in the Indian Ocean and could end up in Zimbabwe within two weeks.

Cyclone Chalane is projected to make landfall in Mozambique next week, triggering fears that it could end up in Zimbabwe just like Cyclone Idai which hit the country last year.

Cyclone Idai left more than 300 people dead, hundreds more missing while displacing more than 20 000 families in the eastern highlands.

The country is still to fully recover from the Cyclone Idai effects which also destroyed infrastructure worth millions of dollars.

The Meteorological Service Department (MSD) yesterday said it was monitoring the developing tropical storm and will advise the nation on how it will affect Zimbabwe by Sunday.

MSD head of forecasting Mr James Ngoma said the Civil Protection Unit’s structures have been activated to ensure that citizens are protected.

He said the country was not leaving anything to chance as already heavy rainfall in most parts of the country has caused flash floods in some instances.

“A depression not yet a tropical cyclone is currently developing in the Indian Ocean located approximately to the North East of Mauritius and the far east of Madagascar. It will continue south eastward with steady intensification over the next few days. The potential of development of a significant tropical cyclone is still very high.

Because of this, we still continue to monitor the everchanging trajectory but it will end up near Nampula in Mozambique, according to the current trajectory,” said Mr Ngoma.

He said the cyclone could end up like the Cyclone Kenneth that hit Mozambique last year in April, and not affecting Zimbabwe.

Cyclone Kenneth occurred just a month after the region experienced the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai which left more than 1 300 dead in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

“Because of its nature it might develop like Tropical Cyclone Kenneth but due to the radical nature of the systems we are experiencing at the moment, the MSD will continue to track the cyclone and keep the public informed. So, we are still monitoring the situation to see when it will land in Zimbabwe.

The CPU committees at district and national level have been activated so all areas have been covered and they will be there on the ground to ensure that all citizens of the country are safe,” said Mr Ngoma.

“The first country that might be affected is Madagascar that’s when it will fall on the main African continent. So, at the moment we cannot confirm or refute whether it will affect Zimbabwe. Based on the current rains it is indicative of the rains that were projected by the MSD of normal to above normal rainfalls.”

He said the landing of the tropical cyclone in Madagascar on Sunday will give Zimbabwe enough time to plan on how the country should handle the storm.

In preparing for the 2020/2021 normal to above normal rainy season, Cabinet approved a US$30 million budget to capacitate the CPU to respond to any rain-related disasters. Chronicle

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