The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum predicts that Southern Africa will experience at least 13 cyclones this season, higher than the average of nine per season.
The Government of Zimbabwe has allocated ZWL$37 billion for disaster response and management, as the country is expected to be hit by two tropical cyclones during the rainy season. The Department of Civil Protection (DCP) estimates that around 250,000 people are at risk of being affected by adverse weather conditions, including cyclones, floods, landslides, and hailstorms.
Harsh weather conditions have already caused severe damage, affecting 5,000 people, killing 13 people and injuring 16 this year. In the previous year, Southern Africa experienced 11 cyclones, including one that caused significant destruction and displaced over 100,000 people in Mozambique, Malawi, and Madagascar. Responding to questions from The Sunday Mail, the DCP said:
"Due to increased cyclonic events, the country is likely to experience at least two tropical cyclones that will make landfall during the 2023-2024 rainfall season.
The impact of extreme weather conditions is estimated to directly and indirectly affect at least 250 000 people and their livelihoods, mainly in landslide- and flood-prone areas.
So far, at least 5 000 people have been affected, while 13 deaths and 16 injuries caused by extreme weather conditions have been reported."
Areas prone to flooding, such as Mbire, Tsholotsho, Muzarabani, Chipinge-Middle Sabi, Chimanimani, and Gokwe North, are put on high alert before the start of the rainy season. However, it is important to note that flash flooding can occur anywhere in the country depending on the intensity of rainfall and the condition of drainage systems. The risk of landslides is particularly high in the Eastern Highlands.
The government has developed a contingency plan to respond quickly to rain-induced disasters, including activating civil protection structures and providing resources to districts. The Meteorological Services Department will continue to monitor the season and provide timely forecasts and alerts to the Department of Civil Protection.