'Zim was not adequately prepared for cyclone'

INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Mangaliso Ndlovu has conceded that Zimbabwe was not adequately prepared for Cyclone Idai — which left over 170 people dead and hundreds others homeless.

Speaking at an event organised by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (Gmaz) to deliberate on drought assessment and the association’s contribution towards the victims of the cyclone, Ndlovu said he was caught off guard by the magnitude of the cyclone.

“While the cyclone’s movements were monitored and experts advised of its impending drift into Zimbabwe, we were nevertheless caught not adequately prepared for the kind of magnitude we experienced. Experts also noted that this was the worst cyclone in sub-Saharan Africa,” Ndlovu said.

He added that the cyclone’s advent on the back of the El Nino weather phenomenon has impacted negatively on Zimbabwe.

“Coming on the back of the El Nino weather phenomenon and the resultant poor harvests that it caused this agricultural season, this presented us with added challenges which will affect the whole country, requiring our collective efforts to pro-actively deal with such alterations in our weather patterns,” he said, adding that government is putting in place necessary measures to ensure adequate grain supply.

The tropical cyclone, which reached the country from Mozambique, knocked down trees and destroyed key infrastructure and hundreds of homes in the process, mainly in Manicaland province.

Government declared Cyclone Idai a national disaster prompting several local and international organisations, countries like the UK, US and ordinary people to donate various items such as tents, clothes and food. 

Ndlovu bemoaned the untold damage businesses suffered as a result of the cyclone.
“It is also important during this time, and in fact, any other time for that matter, to continue to uphold basic business ethics.

We unfortunately need to make this call against the tendency by some insensitive people among us who want to profiteer at the expense of the very people that we are setting out to serve and save,” he said. The meeting was attended by senior government officials, business leaders and millers.

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