THE devastating effects of Cyclone Idai have once more reminded us that disasters of such magnitude are real and not confined to distant lands.
What is disturbing is, this cyclone seems to have caught us flatfooted despite persistent warnings.
Residents of the worst affected areas admit prior warning had been given for people in low-lying areas to move to higher ground.
Weather forecasts had already predicted Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East as provinces likely to be affected by Cyclone Idai.
But alas, warnings appear to have been largely ignored.
Even though the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) was aware of the impending peril, there isn’t enough evidence that it did enough to ensure the safety of the public.
Could this have been because of lack of concern for the people’s lives?
We don’t want to be tempted to believe so.
What seems to have been at play here was sheer complacency.
And this complacency seems to have been due to short memory.
The picture of a cyclone most people seem to have had was that of the relatively moderate ones of recent years.
When people were warned of the impending Cyclone Idai, they probably never thought it would be any different from Cyclone Dineo of 2017.
Maybe if people had remembered the devastating effects of Cyclone Eline of 2000, they would not have been caught napping.
This is the nightmarish cyclone which left at least 136 people dead, over 59 000 houses and huts destroyed as well as bridges reduced to nothing.
Cyclone Idai had almost similar effects.
As we grapple with this numbing tragedy, never before in recent years is the unity of Zimbabweans more paramount.
This is a national tragedy.
It has equally affected people of different persuasions, be it political, religious or even cultural.
Of course, there are some bound to be determined to seek to harvest maximum political, financial and material mileage out of the disaster.
Antics by some upstarts meant to draw attention to themselves have to be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.
What we have to bear in mind is Cyclone Idai is a regional disaster not confined to Zimbabwe.
Malawi and Mozambique have also been victims, with more than
1 000 feared dead in Mozambique.
To blame a political party or an individual for the natural disaster is the height of primitive thinking.
Let’s all put our shoulders to the wheel and, see in whatever small way we can, be counted to have helped the the survivors.
Meanwhile, we salute organisations and individuals who have wasted no time in rendering assistance to this worthy cause.
United we can help reconstruct our ravaged infrastructure.
With the changing weather patterns, Idai is definitely not the last devastating cyclone to visit us.
Having said this, we believe the CPU does not feel very comfortable with the havoc caused by Cyclone Idai.
Maybe they could start right away to educate people on how to mitigate effects of future cyclones or any other disasters for that matter.
We find ourselves in their corner as we appeal to relevant authorities that they be adequately capacitated.