By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
20 February 2014
In response to the Tokwe-Mukosi breaching its dam wall three weeks, following heavy rains in Masvingo province, government has managed to relocate all but 50 families who lived downstream of the dam.
Around 4,500 villagers living along the flood basin of the dam had to be evacuated after water, escaping from cracks in the dam wall, flooded the river that flows directly towards the villages.
This forced the government to declare the area a state disaster, fearing the dam wall would burst and sweep away thousands of people in its path.
Following analysis of the dam, Italian engineers involved in its construction say they are confident the dam will not collapse. Admire Mashenjere, from the Tokwe-Mukosi Rehabilitation and Resettlement Trust, told SW Radio Africa that his family was one of about 50 out of 4,500 families still to be relocated.
‘There is mass movement of people from the area. Trucks from the CMED and contracted haulage trucks have been moving villagers to Masangula and Chingwizi areas in Mwenezi and some to Chisase in Chiredzi.
‘Roughly about 50 families remain here but we are confident by tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday we will be relocated to start new lives away from the dam project,’ said Mashenjere, who believed funds from the relocation had been provided by donors.
The US government has already donated $750,000 through the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) to help deal with the disaster.
Karen Kelley, a counsellor for public affairs at the US Embassy, told the media in Harare that they will also be sending in an advisor through the USAid office to liaise with other relief organisations to identify additional needs at the Tokwe-Mukosi dam.