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Red Cross intensifies early warning systems projects

BY STYLE REPORTER

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) on Wednesday joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Meteorological Services Day.

The commemorations were held concurrently with the Radar ground-breaking ceremony held at the Meteorological Services Department Head Office in Harare.

This year’s commemoration was held under the theme Early Warning and Early Action: Hydro Meteorological and Climate Information for Disaster Risk Reduction.

In sync with the theme, ZRCS has been involved in a number of projects across the country with a proactive thrust of early warning through early actions.

ZRCS secretary-general Elias Hwenga said his organisation runs a comprehensive resilience building through early action in Chipinge and Chimanimani to improve disaster preparedness of vulnerable communities.

“So far, we have trained Red Cross volunteers and ward civil protection committees in 10 Wards on early warning communication, conducted vulnerability capacity assessments, early warning early action simulations and supported the communities with megaphones for early warning risk communication,” Hwenga said.

“This has attributed to minimal damage to property and livelihoods during Tropical Depression Ana.”

Through its long-standing partnership with the Meteorological Service Department, the ZRCS has capacitated the department through availing information and technology equipment, which will see the department being able to digitally store weather related data for easy retrieval and climate modelling.

A couple of years ago, ZRCS also supported the establishment of a weather station in Kariba to provide timely weather forecasts to the communities around Lake Kariba.

Hwenga said ZRCS had also been piloting forecast-based action in Zimbabwe, focusing on El-Nino induced drought with the aim of developing early actions plans and interventions to curb drought induced human suffering.

Communities in Chiredzi are benefitting from an anticipatory response to tackle drought-related issues through cash and voucher assistance

ZRCS is also training first aid responders across the country and its volunteers have been very active in disseminating further early warning messages to the most vulnerable communities as well as providing first response during disasters as that complements early warning through early action.

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