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Government declares all roads as a State of Disaster

Government has resolved that all roads in the country be declared a State of Disaster inorder the facilitate the release funds for maintenance and repair works, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

Speaking at the first 2021 post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday, Mutsvangwa said Cabinet made this declaration as significant portions of national roads have been compromised by incessant rains.

Mutsvangwa said Cabinet’s decision was informed by an adverse report submitted by Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo, which revealed that some areas are now inaccessible because of extensively damaged roads.

She revealed government is working on necessary legal procedures to give effect to a declaration which eases mobilisation of funds to repair damaged roads, and ensures quality standardization of works.

“Cabinet has resolved that all roads in the country be declared a state of disaster. The declaration would facilitate the release of resources for the repair and rehabilitation of all roads that require such works.

“The restorative works will cover all urban areas as well as the rural trunk roads. It will also pave way for the standardization of quality roads under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development. The necessary legal procedures to give effect to the declaration is being worked on,” she said.

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Mutsvangwa warned of a high risk of floods, which could compound adverse effects of limited mobility caused by damaged infrastructure, already disturbing socio-economic activities such as distribution of food, inputs and delivery of important services.

She said Cabinet also received an update on the rehabilitation of the Beitbridge- Harare – Chirundu highway.

“People in malaria-prone areas should take necessary precautions, while those in flood-prone areas should relocate to high ground. Government will continue to institute measures to protect its citizens in the advent of natural hazards,” she said.

Similarly, the acting Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Winston Chitando (MP) recently advised that effects of ‘heavy and incessant rains that are being witnessed across Zimbabwe have badly affected the country’s road infrastructure.’

Chitando warned motorists to avoid driving at night as depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision can be compromised by darkness, while the public was warned against crossing flooded rivers.

“Let us all be cautious on our roads. Together we can make a difference and save precious lives. Remember, one death is too many.

“Provincial Road Engineers (PREs) are currently on the ground assessing the state of major structures for any signs of scour, erosion, or bridge movement to timeously and effectively respond to the situation based on identified needs.

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“REs will also place warning signs to warn motorists of any identified potential danger along the country’s road network,” he said.

Zimbabwe national road network excluding urban roads, which are also in a dire state, totals 76 241 km, of which only 9 256 km (12.1%) are bitumen surfaced. Most of these roads require complete rehabilitation works as they are aged over thirty years.

Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) a parastatal responsible for management maintenance and development of the national road network, is only able to fund minimal routine and periodic maintenance countrywide.

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