Chimanimani (New Ziana) – Churches play a critical role in mitigating disasters as they offer help at a local level, and therefore there is need to adequately capacitate them, the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) said on Tuesday.
This was said by CPU official, Tatenda Sithole at a disaster preparedness workshop running under the theme: “Disaster Risk Reduction” here.
CPU convened the workshop to enlighten church leaders of various denominations on how to prepare for natural disasters at a local level.
“Church leaders and community leaders need to combine ideas for preparedness plans by partaking in prevention of disasters through awareness, indigenous knowledge and repatriation of possible victims,” Sithole said.
“This procedure can be crucial if churches have a local budget at denominational and church level in preparation for future hazards. A budget should be set aside for disasters through a Disaster Response Plan (D.R.P) to help recover from disasters,” he added.
CPU coordinator, Lenard Mukoko encouraged churches to prepare for disasters by building good solid structures for future provision of shelter in disaster times.
“Those with churches that were swept away should build back better structures and the local authorities should approve and allocate stands for churches on good sites,” he said.
Reverend minister Washington Mambewu from Church of Christ Zimbabwe (CCZ) said that they are willing to work towards mitigating future disasters by engaging other churches and the community to reduce risk.
“This workshop was an eye opener to participants. We highly regard such training as it empower communities with knowledge,” said Rev Mambewu.
The workshop was attended by representatives from Union Apostolic and Zionist Churches in Zimbabwe Africa (U.D.A.Z.C.Z.A), Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (Z.C.B.C) and members from Evangelical Fellowship Zimbabwe (E.F.Z).
In recent years, Zimbabwe has experienced climate change-induced disasters that have left a trail of destruction and deaths in communities across the country.
Against this background, experts said there is need for a clear cut national policy and strategy to deal with such catastrophes.
Government recently adopted other measures such as developing a satellite generated flood management framework aimed at establishing proactive disaster risk management systems that will also influence infrastructure development.