Budiriro flood victims moved to Dzivarasekwa flats

Families flooded out of their homes in Budiriro are set to be accommodated at the newly constructed flats in Dzivarasekwa Extension after their homes and household property were damaged by heavy rains that pounded western Harare in the last few days, bringing the Marimba River up in flood.

Government has promised more assistance to the victims, some of whom have since been evacuated to Budiriro 3 Primary School where they are being temporarily housed.

Fifty-nine households in Harare’s Budiriro 5B Extension and the paddocks area of Kuwadzana have been affected by flash flooding along the Marimba River due to the heavy rains that have been falling in the last few days.

National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe, Local Government and Public Works Minister Winston Chitando and Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province Charles Tavengwa, yesterday toured the areas affected by floods in Budiriro and then went on to inspect Dzivarasekwa flats.

They assisted some victims with hygienic packs, and promised more support.

Speaking after the tour, Minister Garwe said they have secured 27 units at the Dzivarasekwa flats, which would be allocated to 27 affected families. He said the families would move once a few outstanding touch-ups have been done by the Department of Public Works in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.

“We have 100 metres of sewer lines that need to be connected and external works need to be spruced up as well,” said Minister Garwe. “Once that is done, then we wait for the commissioning of the four blocks as well as the handing over to the 27 families. We have got 48 units here and these units are not designed for flood victims only, it is just a coincidence that flood victims that needed attention.

“We are providing accommodation to Zimbabweans throughout the country and this is not the only place where flats are being constructed. We have got flats in the Midlands in Gweru, Marondera, Mutawatawa and even in rural communities we are now building flats.”

Minister Chitando weighed in saying the 27 families would be relocated to the flats once the paperwork was complete.

“I think three years back, the Minister went to that place and confirmed its illegality and the fact that it is in a wetland next to Marimba River,” he said.

“We wanted people to be moved to this side but before they could be moved, tragedy struck. So the units are ready and the families should be moved. So from the Public Works perspective, we are handing over the units to the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities.”

Minister Tavengwa said the major challenge that led to flooding in Budiriro was the lack of master plans and local development plans by the City of Harare.

“If they were abiding by the by-laws, then we would not have any problems but they have thrown all those statutes out of the window, and we have the councillors who are involved in the development of these areas.

“As we always say, what needs to be demolished has to be demolished because we cannot allow people to do what they want everywhere,” he said.

In interviews, some of the victims sheltered at Budiriro 3 Primary School said they were pinned their hopes on the Government to be reallocated fresh stands.

Mrs Susan Mlambo-Chaputika said they got the stands through cooperatives, which were allocated the land by the Harare City Council.

“We were in cooperatives under the Marange Cooperative and we were given the stands by the Council in 2015,” she said. “When we moved to our stands, there were no problems until the rainy season of 2016 when we were hit by floods. Currently, our houses and properties have been damaged and our major worry is that schools are opening soon and we have children who would be going to school.

“We would like to know the way forward since we do not have a place to go. We were told that there are flats that have been built by the Government in Dzivarasekwa Extension and we hope we will be relocated there.”

Mrs Esnath Mukusva said she lost all her property and has no hope of recovering it.

“Everything has been damaged and I do not know how we are going to acquire new property. I came here with all my children and my husband remained behind to see if there was something he could recover,” she said.

The woman whose child was swept away and killed by the floods last week, who chose to identify herself as Shildah, said she had to seek shelter at the school because she was being threatened by land barons.

“I am being threatened on why I reported that my child was swept away by the floods. I was being blocked on the roads and from having access to basic necessities,” she said.


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