|Runyararo West has experienced heavy-floding this rainy season|
…climate change, unplanned urban development in Vic Ranch blamed
Around 13 regularly-built houses in Runyararo West suburb face demolition if assessments being done by City of Masvingo are completed, TellZim News can report.
Possibilities of the houses getting demolished come after several households experienced unprecedented flooding which laid to waste several household items.
City of Masvingo Acting Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa told TellZim in an interview that the houses sat on the confluence of two waterways such that they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to many previously-unforeseen factors some of them related to climate change.
“We are making our assessments on the possibility of relocating those families to safer ground. There has been a lot of flooding and those families lost all their furniture as a result. The houses are located on the confluence of two waterways and a solution has to be found as a matter of urgency,” said Mukaratirwa.
He acknowledged that the houses were built regularly with council approval but many adverse factors had later come into play over the years.
“The houses have been there for many years and nothing of this magnitude had happened to them. But due to climate change-related factors and the increase in the amount runoff from the many rooftops that came up in Victoria Ranch, those houses now vulnerable,” said Mukaratirwa.
He promised that council would pay commensurate compensation to all families affected should a resolution to demolish their houses be made as is widely expected.
“We would definitely find alternative accommodation for them. It is our duty as a responsible local authority to make sure that corrective measures are not implemented with disregard to the welfare of residents. The people affected would therefore be provided with alternative living spaces that are safer from adverse weather conditions,” Mukaratirwa said.
From the mid-200s, thousands of homes sprouted on Victoria Ranch, an old cattle farm on the south-western edge of Masvingo city, as ruling party-connected land barons took advantage of government’s antipathy to opposition-controlled urban councils to irregularly sell vast tracts of state land to desperate home-seekers.
There are barely any social services provided in Victoria Ranch which lies adjacent to Runyararo West.
The land barons – despite pocketing millions of dollars from the sale of state land – now seek to transfer responsibility to the struggling Masvingo City Council which never benefitted from the land sales bonanza.