Local News

Cyclone Freddy To Reach Zimbabwe Tonight

The government has put in place solid contingency plans to deal with Cyclone Freddy, which is expected to make landfall in Zimbabwe tonight. These plans include keeping day scholars in affected districts at home tomorrow, establishing evacuation centres, and deploying aid and medical supplies so that they are physically present in the at-risk districts.

At the same time, nighttime transportation services have been suspended, and local authorities have been warned of flood dangers in wetlands and along rivers.

Cyclone Freddy made landfall in southern Madagascar on Tuesday night, and while it was downgraded to an overland depression, it was expected to make landfall in the Mozambique Channel today, where it will regain strength to at least the severe tropical storm level before making landfall in Mozambique.


According to The Herald, government is prepared to deal with high rainfall, strong winds, and damage in Mashonaland East and Central as well as Harare Metropolitan, provinces that are now also placed on high alert and counted as high risk. The Meteorological Services Department has forecast that the worst-hit provinces will be Manicaland, especially the southern districts, Masvingo, and portions of Matabeleland South. However, meteorologists have warned that Cyclone Freddy’s path could alter dramatically.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa stated during a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday that the Department of Civil Protection’s Department of Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo had presented Cabinet with a report on the likely effects of Cyclone Freddy.

“Weather experts are predicting that it may cause damage along its path,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“In view of this cyclone information, the Government, through its agencies, has taken due alert and has put in place the following measures: setting up of evacuation establishments, deploying aid and medical supplies in Government offices in potentially vulnerable districts, boarding schools to remain open but to suspend lessons in the affected areas on Friday to reduce the movement of pupils and should gather students in buildings or dormitories with secure roofs or spaces where they can get covering if the roof is blown off; and day scholars in affected areas can have Friday off to reduce student movement,” she said.

In addition, said Minister Mutsvangwa, Cabinet had directed that small to medium enterprises and artisanal miners should avoid going underground.

“Citizens should avoid crossing rivers in flood, public transport operators should operate during day time; and that all local authorities stand warned against settling people in wetlands, waterways, river basins and other undesignated sites.

“Cabinet would like to assure the nation that all these measures are meant to avoid unnecessary loss of life. The public will be kept abreast of all developments on the matter,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

The Met Department predicts that spinning cloud bands from Freddy will begin approaching Zimbabwe this evening and will pass over southern Manicaland, Masvingo, and portions of Matabeleland South tomorrow before weakening starting on Saturday. However, they warn that the storm’s trajectory “may change drastically.”

From this evening until Sunday, the affected areas are expected to experience heavy rain and strong winds, with localised heavy rainfall exceeding 50mm and even 65mm. There is also a risk of flash flooding in areas with saturated soils, over wetlands, on impervious surfaces, and along river basins.

See Also: Cyclone Freddy Kills One In Madagascar

People are urged to stay indoors during thunderstorms unless it is an emergency.

Cyclone Freddy was set to enter the waters of the Mozambique channel at around 5pm yesterday after passing over southern Madagascar and then head west-southwest and in 36 hours, reach its final peak intensity of around 110km/h, the severe tropical storm stage.

Cyclone Freddy was expected to move west over the Mozambique Channel making landfall in the early morning hours of tomorrow and quickly weakening over the next three days. But the Met Departments warns that the trajectory may change drastically and in any case the spinning cloud bands will touch Zimbabwe this evening.

“There will be blown-off roofs and fallen trees due to strong winds. Open drains and pot holes may be covered in water. Rain may affect outdoor activities. Plan with the weather in mind. If travel is necessary, please take caution on the roads as visibility may be reduced and there may be hidden flood dangers. Do not attempt to cross rivers in flood on foot or in vehicles,” said the Met Department and the Department of Civil Protection, which is on high alert.

The most at-risk districts are Chimanimani, Chipinge, Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Beitbridge, Chivi, Masvingo Rural, Zaka and Bikita, but the risk of drastic trajectory change mean that the rest of eastern Zimbabwe needs to be on alert.

Freddy was yesterday over Madagascar, and reportedly damaged houses. As part of the precautions, Madagascar’s government suspended schools and transport in the path of tropical cyclone Freddy, which made landfall in the southeast of the country on Tuesday evening at around 8:30pm.

The Department of Civil Protection said all relevant stakeholders and traditional leaders must step up efforts to disseminate information to their communities where heavy rains accompanied by strong winds are expected.

“We urge citizens to take heed of the Meteorological Services Department alerts as they continue monitoring the unfolding situation. Citizens should be on the watch for possible flooding, avoid crossing flooded rivers and streams, stay indoors and avoid artisanal mining on shaky ground during the period,” the department said.

“Citizens living in low-lying areas are also encouraged to move to high ground.”

A National Civil Protection Committee emergency meeting was held on Wednesday in Harare and district civil protection committees countrywide have also been mobilised. District development coordinators are required to be on standby to respond to any eventualities.

In the event that certain communities are evacuated, schools would be temporarily closed in the affected areas. Schools are usually used as evacuation points, being generally well built on higher ground and having water supplies.

Related Articles

Back to top button