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ZIMBABWE’S Civil Protection is on high alert for Cyclone Freddy which is likely to hit Southern African countries, particularly in Chimanimani and Chipinge in the Eastern Highlands belt of Zimbabwe.
Intense Tropical Cyclone Freddy, a particularly powerful and compact tropical system, is forecasted to make landfall in Madagascar on February 21.
Freddy represents a significant flood risk for Madagascar as soils are already saturated in central parts of the island from the impact of Cyclone Cheneso, which stalled off the west coast of the island and brought torrential rains in late January that affected over 90,000 people with 33 people killed and 20 people still missing.
Civil Protection Unit Chief Director Nathan Nkomo told NewZimbabwe Tuesday that they are treating the cyclone as a looming disaster whether it reaches Zimbabwe or not.
According to some reports, the cyclone could affect nations along the coast from Tanzania to South Africa.
To alleviate the possible threat, Nkomo said his department, particularly the government, has been on high alert and some measures have already been put in place to counter any possible effects.
“We always make preparations at the beginning of the season. We have already projected the effects so we have been on this (response) since October last year.
Nkomo said the responsible structures are all on the grounds and the district department coordinator was hands-on.
Nkomo said government has poured in US$800 000 for the Air Force of Zimbabwe to procure A1 Jet fuel and other accessories for rescue choppers.
“Government has also availed ZW$235 million to the sub-aqua unit, for it to procure new equipment. It is not only about readying the workforce but you will note that their equipment is obsolete and they now need new equipment.
He said all procurement procedures have been followed with regards to that.
“We are on high alert and we are treating it as a looming disaster, whether it will reach us or not,” he said.
Nkomo said there are ongoing awareness campaigns in communities likely to be affected and warned everyone to be on high alert.
He also urged the public not to dice with death and stop posting details to misinform people.
Zimbabwe’s meteorology services department said a very Intense Tropical Cyclone Freddy is tracking west-south, westward in the Indian Ocean.
The department said it could reach Mozambique, Zimbabwe’s immediate eastern neighbour.
According to weather experts, life-threatening impacts could accompany the cyclone during the first half of this week.
Source – NewZimbabwe