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Cyclone Idai a disaster to the region

19 Mar 2019 at 12:24hrs | Views
Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai was the strongest tropical cyclone  to strike Mozambique  since Jokwe in 2008 and the deadliest tropical cyclone worldwide in 2019. The tenth named storm and record-breaking seventh intense tropical cyclone of the , Idai originated from a tropical depression that formed off the eastern coast 2018–19 South West Indian Ocean cyclone season of Mozambique on 4 March.

The depression made landfall in the aforementioned country later in the day and remained a tropical cyclone throughout the entirety of its trek over land. On 9 March, the depression reemerged into the Mozambique Channel and was upgraded into Moderate Tropical Storm Idai next day. The system then began a stint of rapid intensification , reaching an initial peak intensity as an intense tropical cyclone with winds of 175 km/h (110 mph) on 11 March. Idai then began to weaken due to ongoing structural changes within its inner core, falling to tropical cyclone intensity.On 15 March, Idai made landfall near Beira, Mozambique, as an intense tropical cyclone.

Idai brought strong winds and caused severe flooding in Madagascar , Malawi  and Zimbabwe .It  has killed 314 people–150 in Mozambique, 98 in Zimbabwe, 56 in Malawi, 7 in South Africa, and 3 in Madagascar–and affected more than 1 million others. Catastrophic damage occurred in and around Beira in southern Mozambique. The President of Mozambique stated that more than 1,000 people may have died in the storm.

The cyclone has led to massive destruction of infrastructure, including homes, clinics, schools, roads and bridges. The death toll has risen to 89 in Zimbabwe after Cyclone Idai ravaged the country's Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo provinces since Friday.

According to state media, the Leader of the inter-ministerial taskforce team, Minister  July Moyo, confirmed the number of the dead and said hundreds were still missing in Chipinge and Chimanamani districts of Manicaland.The roofs on so many houses have fallen in, likewise the walls. A lot of people in the affected areas have lost their homes. The cyclone has ruined farmers, whose crops had already been affected by a bad drought.The tropical storm cut off power and communications in Manicaland province, along the border with Mozambique .Chimanimani district has been cut off from the rest of the country by torrential rains and winds of up to 170km an hour that swept away roads, homes and bridges and knocked out power and communication lines. Rescuers are struggling to reach people in Chimanimani, many of whom have been sleeping in the mountains since Friday after their homes were flattened by rock falls and mudslides or washed away by torrential rains. Many families cannot bury the dead due to the floods.

Government, corporates and individuals have come together to mobilise aid for the victims who need food, clothes, blankets, toiletries and water, among other things.The main sources of cyclone information are radio and television stations. During a cyclone threat, some stations keep local staff on duty 24 hours a day to broadcast cyclone information.   Zimbabwe's preparedness to handle disaster situations, which, as a result of climate change, have become more frequent, intense and damaging. Past experiences do not inspire so much hope.

The Civil Protection Unit should always have campaigns / preparing villagers in vulnerable areas for the worst, advising them of things like moving to higher ground once the rains begin, or even when they haven't actually started.But a cultured reminder by the CPU at the precise time of disaster will certainly add some urgency. Some natural disasters can be predicted which needs schools to be alert also , giving schools enough warning to evacuate or take other safety precautions, but others can happen unexpectedly or go through rapid changes that suddenly put a school in danger. The first step schools should take in preparing for these types of emergencies is to assess the natural disaster risks in their area . Students, staff and administrators can prepare themselves for emergencies at school in a number of ways, from conducting regular, emergency-specific drills to making sure the building's infrastructure is up to code. When emergencies do happen, schools need to know how to respond appropriately and recover as quickly and effectively as possible.

The government  has often been blasted for being slow and ill-prepared responding to disaster situations, both before and after the event. In the face of climate change and global warming, Zimbabwe needs to raise the bar on disaster risk management and preparedness. The trend is to merge these responses with climate change adaptation, as the majority of present-day natural disasters are now directly linked to the science .Such strategies can help Zimbabwe redefine its development assistance by working harder to use the national wealth to meet priorities of the poor – however little those savings may be. Strained for funding, the Civil Protection Unit should – during times of calm – transfer some of the work to vulnerable communities themselves by strengthening their ability to combat disasters through serious and rigorous educational and awareness campaigns. Improving knowledge and information at the grass root level for disaster response and risk reduction can prove effective and efficient in times of hardship.All open pits near homes, schools and along children's pathways must be filled up or closed, children must be supervised and never play near pools, rivers and streams .

I encourage Schools ,farmers and people to put under insurance all their buildings, schools, homes , projects eg crops etc . During the design and construction phases, carefully consider purchasing a 'builders risk' insurance policy for your project. In particular, ensure that the policy can cover aggregate weather hazards including those related to cyclones (such as extreme rainfall). Speak with other construction planners , farmers  to learn if they obtained insurance coverage in advance, and the cost and benefits associated with that coverage. After construction is complete, plan to purchase a long-term hazard policy to protect your investment against cyclone wind damage, especially if it covers other significant hazards in your project area. Keep in mind multiple location policies can be an economical means of covering diverse risks across multiple locations. During financial planning, budget such a policy and prepare for potential premium increases resulting from higher risk levels in the future (for example, under climate change).During the design and construction phases, thoroughly review the emergency response procedures laid out by your local and national governments and, if necessary, make changes to project design and implementation to account for these procedures.

These procedures will have already taken into account the significant hazards inherent to your region, including cyclone wind hazards and other related risks to your project. In general, buildings constructed from masonry and reinforced concrete can withstand cyclone winds better than wood frame construction, although it is important to consider building design for cyclone wind alongside other hazards that might be present in the project area.The most common, and often most costly, damage from wind is to the roof of a property. Complex architectural features (e.g., cupolas, lattice work, etc.) add visual interest, but they also tend to increase wind turbulence and the overall vulnerability of the structure. In general, wind pressures are highest at the corners of roofs.An intense cyclone can bring torrential rains and have embedded severe thunderstorms that are accompanied by tornadoes. Buildings damaged by wind often suffer water damage as well. Water driven by hurricane-force wind can enter a building through otherwise sealed openings, and rain entering through a damaged roof can compromise the inside of the building and in some cases expose the building to dangerous mold. The use of wind and impact resistant coverings to protect windows, doors, and other openings from breach by wind-borne debris can greatly reduce damage and loss from a tropical cyclone, particularly when a project is near other buildings (especially medium to high-rise construction), trees, and/or other surface obstacles. High-impact resistant glass can greatly reduce glass damage where debris is prevalent. Properly-rated storm shutters can be installed for use over windows and smaller openings. The tops and bottoms of doors can be reinforced using bolt kits. Garage doors and larger openings can be properly reinforced .

The government body responsible for civil protection  may also explore the benefits of promoting multi-stakeholder partnerships by creating synergies with better-funded organisations in the civic sector and volunteers willing to spread the message of awareness . When disaster strikes, their role may then be reduced to mobilising additional humanitarian aid like food, water, shelter and health care and protecting critical facilities such as schools and hospitals.

I am deeply grieved and saddened at the news of the high toll of human lives and heavy damage resulting from the Cyclone Idai . I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families of the tragedy, and to the nation at large. May their Souls REST IN PEACE.

God bless Zimbabwe

Enos Denhere is a freelance Journalist . Contacting email enosdenhere@gmail.com App /Call +263773894975

Source - Enos Denhere
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