Concerns over houses affected by floodwater

HARARE - A residents' association has voiced its concerns about homes being submerged by floodwater due to poor land use and management in Harare, which is posing a serious humanitarian disaster.

This comes after 30 families whose houses were built about 50 metres away from Marimba River in Budiriro 5 had to be evacuated after they were displaced by flooding. Dramatic scenes showed emergency workers evacuating residents across the floods and houses filled with water.

“...we are concerned over the haphazard allocation of residential stands which is mostly being done for political expediency while totally disregarding proper land use and management,” Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) chairperson Simbarashe Moyo said.

“Most of these residential stands are being issued out by housing cooperatives connected to political bigwigs and the allocation is largely on a partisan basis.”

Houses have over the years sprouted on undesignated areas as a result of mainly politicians abusing their power to form “cooperatives” that they use to grab land and sell to desperate home-seekers while in some cases, land is being used as a campaign tool.

Most of the houses have been built in areas without water and sanitation facilities, thus compromising the health of residents.

“In as much as we appreciate that residents have a right to shelter, we are concerned that the lives of residents who have built on undesignated sites are at high risk as has been witnessed in Budiriro,” Moyo said.

“Chra implores central government to ensure that political interference, which has largely been responsible for land grabs and the sprouting of illegal structures across Harare, is stopped.

“There is also need to deal decisively with the cancer of corruption which is also responsible for the growth of illegal settlements in Harare.

“Chra also calls upon the Harare City Council to deal with the poor drainage systems that have resulted in flooding in some residential areas as well as in the Central Business District.”

Mbare residents  are claiming $57 000 in compensation from Harare City Council following damage to their property by flooding. More than 30 residents living along Mbirimi, Mwamuka, Chinamhora and Dumbujena streets were hit by a deluge of water on December 26 after heavy rains and poor drainage resulted in flooded roads and houses.

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