Following a heavy rain and floods alert issued by the Department of Civil Protection and the Meteorological Services Department, students who planned to travel to their boarding schools in the provinces of Manicaland and Masvingo from today through Sunday in advance of schools opening next week will have to wait a little longer.
Next week, when schools resume, most boarding school students are expected to arrive at their stations on Sunday in accordance with tradition.
The government, however, has ordered that students not go to their boarding schools in the provinces of Manicaland and Masvingo as a precaution after issuing a heavy rain and flood alert.
According to the forecast, today’s heavy rains will last until Sunday.
Due to heavy rains that fell in some areas of Harare last night and the likelihood that it will get worse today, the government has requested that students in the targeted areas postpone their travel plans.
The importance of saving lives over losing them has been emphasized repeatedly by President Mnangagwa.
Cyclone Idai devastated both provinces, particularly Manicaland, in March 2019.
Hundreds of people were killed by Cyclone Idai, mostly in Manicaland, and reports suggest that some may have been carried into the Indian Ocean.
According to a letter from Mrs. Tumisang Thabela, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, dated January 5, 2023, to provincial education directors, students should postpone their travels until after the heavy rain alert has passed.
“The Civil Protection Unit has alerted of the potential imminent excess rainfall and between January 6 and 8, 2023, particularly in Manicaland Province: Mutare rural, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Buhera, and in Masvingo Province: Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Gutu, Bikita and Zaka districts.
“In view of this warning, boarding pupils are advised to travel after these dates. Be guided accordingly,” said Mrs Thabela.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the MSD and the Department of Civil Protection warned that from today through Sunday, there would likely be localized heavy rain totalling more than 50mm, as well as flash flooding in areas with saturated soil, wetlands, impervious surfaces, and along river basins.
Strong winds may blow off roofs and bring down trees, according to the statement, so people should stay inside during thunderstorms.
When travel cannot be delayed, people must use caution on the roads and avoid crossing flooded rivers in their vehicles or on foot. Unnecessary travel has also been discouraged during this time.
Government has since tasked relevant stakeholders and traditional leaders to get the flood warnings out to communities, The Herald reports.
All Mashonaland provinces, Manicaland, parts of the Midlands and Masvingo are on special alert after warnings of heavy rainfall in excess of 65mm expected over 24 hours.
District civil protection committees countrywide have since been mobilised.