Call to speed up infrastructure rehab in Cyclone hit areas
Chimanimani (Pungwe News-New Ziana)-Areas affected by Cyclone Idai in March this year were recently rendered inaccessible after a brief wet spell in a stark reminder to authorities of the need to speed up rehabilitation of road infrastructure.
Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.
The cyclone caused catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, leaving more than 1 300 people dead and many more missing while infrastructure such as homes, schools, clinics, roads, bridges and electricity lines were destroyed as well as livestock and crops.
Access roads in the area were impassable for long periods during the past week with some vehicles stuck in the mud, resulting in some parts of the mountainous area which still need food and medical assistance being cut off.
The main access road to Chimanimani town is closed for permanent repairs.
The Chimanimani Tourist Association has been warning travelers to the resort area to use high clearance four-wheel drive vehicles.
Tractor owners in the area have been making a killing out of the crisis charging over Z$250 to tow away stuck vehicles, particularly along Runhowani road which is the shorter route than the longer Cashel Valley scenic view road.
Haulage trucks transporting food and other donations have been the worst affected by the bad weather conditions.
With the Region 1 mountainous area expecting over 1 000 millimeters annual rainfall, failure to beat the onset of the rainy season would result in progress that had been made being pushed back.
Landslides and rocks falling onto the roads has been the norm in the region during wet seasons and is expected to be particularly worse due to the effects of the tropical cyclone.
Manicaland provincial development coordinator Edgars Seenza said repair works to all major roads were progressing well despite the inconveniences from the wet weather.
He said the roads being worked on would be left in better condition than what they were before the cyclone, with some dirt roads going to be tarred.
“Road repairs are going on well on all major roads and they will come up even better than they were… the road from Kopa (the most affected area which saw an entire growth point being washed away) to Jopa (on the Chipinge – Birchenough Bridge highway) is also going to be surfaced,” Seenza said.
Locals have however not been entirely pleased with the pace of progress as two small bridges along the Mutare- Chimanimani road near Charter and at Nyamatanda between Chimanimani town and Ngangu were yet to be attended to since the cyclone.
The detours that were made to make the portions passable are likely going to be washed off as they are lying along river beds.