Heavy Rains In Zimbabwe – Are You Safe?

The rains we have been witnessing in parts of Zimbabwe, although welcome, have brought with them much danger to people, livestock and property. A lot of videos have been circulation on social media showcasing the flooding in different areas. Most of our rivers have not had as much water in them since pre-1980. This is certainly good news but in our celebration we must be aware of the real risk heavy rains, floods and thunderstorms pose to people.

I can’t imagine losing a loved one because of the rains over an incident that could have been easily prevented through awareness. With all the videos I have seen on Facebook, I’m convinced the real issue is simply ignorance; not knowing what to do in these extreme weather conditions.

Hopefully the following will help someone or save a life.

WHAT TO DO DURING HEAVY RAINS

  • First and foremost if for you to have a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) documented and well communicated to your network or community (work or social community).
  • Keep a well stocked portable first-aid kit handy.
  • Cancel all outdoor activity especially if there are heavy thunderstorms.
  • Listen to the radio, television stations and online channels for updates on weather patterns and stay informed. What you don’t know in this case could kill you!!!
  • Be aware of your usual route and your surrounding for streams, drainage channels and areas susceptible to flooding and plan for alternative safer routes.
  • If you are in an area likely to get flash flooding then immediately evacuate to higher ground. Don’t wait to be told just get safe and immediately move to higher and safe ground not susceptible to flash flooding.
  • If local authorities issue a flood watch, prepare to evacuate well in advance and avoid panicking:
    • Secure your home. If you have time, bring outdoor garden equipment and lawn furniture inside or tie it down. Move essential items to the upper floors of your house if available.
    • Do Not hide in basements or sunken lounges if your property is susceptible to flooding.
    • If instructed, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves. Disconnect electrical appliances, but do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
    • Fill your car with fuel.
    • Fill up containers with reserve emergency water in case the water supply gets cut off or gets contaminated..
  • Stay away from flood waters. They could be contaminated and have swift currents.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, if you can do so safely. YOUR CAR IS WORTH A LOT MORE THAN YOUR CAR! You and your vehicle can be quickly swept away as flood waters rise as we have noticed in the social media videos of several cars and trucks that got swept away during flash floods.
  • Do not walk through moving water or try to cross flooded bridges. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you must walk in a flooded area, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • When in doubt, wait it out, or find a safer route.
  • Remember we have crocodiles and some of the most poisonous snakes, a lot of these not so friendly guys also fall victim to flooding and end up in places they are really not happy to be around. It’s safe to say if you meet with a poisonous snake or crocodile during a flash flood the battle will be unfairly one-sided… and I don’t mean in your favor

I am not an expert in these matters but I felt we should exchange good ideas on how to remain safe during the blessing of much rain in our beautiful country. We already know much crop will be damaged so let’s focus our resources on dealing with that instead of insurance and hospital bills for avoidable incidences.

What do you do from the list above? I am also interested to here more ideas on how one can be better prepared for these extreme weather conditions in Zimbabwe.

 

heavy rains save river bridge zimshoppingmalls
This is Save River bridge. It is the link between Wedza and Njanja, kwedu kuChikomba. In the background is the majestic Gandamasungo Mountain, beautifully covered in a white coat of mist. It forms the start of the legendary Wedza Mountain Range. My grandmother lives at the foot of Gandamasungo, with Save just a kilometre away. When you are sitting in her compound, you can hear the roar of the Save in the background. But at this level, the Save does not roar at all. Instead, it is quiet, deceptively quiet. Inenge ichingoshinyira. When it’s like that, you know the Save is in a mean mood, not to be played with. You stay as far away as possible. I have not seen the Save this full in a very long time. Were it not for the high level bridge, it would be virtually impassable. We used to see this back in the 1980s, long before this bridge was built, when it was still a politician’s distant promise. The rains have been abundant this season. Back in the village, elders might ask if it has a meaning that mere mortals cannot easily understand. Perhaps it signals good fortune for water dwelling creatures, like crocodiles – ngwena. And of course fish! We are happy to see the Save in full flow. Tisu anhu acho! Credit: Alex Magaisa

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