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Harare still ill-equipped to combat climate-induced disasters, says official

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

Cash-strapped Harare City Council is still ill-equipped to respond effectively to the dreaded incidence of climate-change induced disasters, a top official has said.

Addressing journalists at a climate justice accountability workshop organised by the Combined Harare Residents Trust (CHRA) and the National for Environmental and Climate Justice, HCC environmental manager Lisben Chipfunde said the capital city needs considerable funding among other interventions to be create conditions that would make it resilient to climate-related disasters.

“We have an urban disaster risk management draft on ways to strengthen resilience and adapt to climate related disasters,” Chipfunde said.

“There is also the need to put up resilient infrastructure and basic services.

“For example, there is the need to construct cement roads which are more resistant to climate change.”

The city official said problems associated with flash floods during the rainy season were a result of the city’s archaic drainage system, adding that there was need to revisit their designs to respond to emerging challenges.

“It should be noted that while efforts are being done to clean drains to deal with the occurrence of flash floods during the rainy season, the problem may persist because the drains were constructed for the population then before this boom we now have.

“So, we need money to redesign infrastructure and also to input into the master plan of the city which has not been up because of lack of funds,” Chipfunde said.

Speaking at the same occasion, Community Water Alliance (CWA) national coordinator Hardlife Mudzingwa challenged journalists to help in reviewing “governance” around water, energy and food which he said correlate and are susceptible to climate change.

“As journalists, to report objectively on climate change, you need to start reviewing governance on water, energy and food laws, policies and regulations.

“This will help you in establishing the nexus between the three in as far as climate change is concerned,” Mudzingwa said.

The journalists, who were drawn from various media houses, also got tips on how to build a network to improve climate change reportage from Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba, a former practising journalist.

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