Report on the Mission Visit to Tsholotsho to Assess the Human Rights Situation of Flood Affected Communities
The Tsholotsho flood report presents the findings and recommendations of a comprehensive report conducted by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, into the events associated with the mission visit to the floods victims in Tsholotsho found in Matabeleland North of Zimbabwe. Our terms of reference took cognisance of the flooding in some wards which included ward eight, six and that occurred downstream of the Gariya Dam. The report also provide commentary on the flooding victims, and the cumulative effects this had at various locations. The report to capture, analyse and model relevant data to assist us to make a rage of findings and recommendations.
The report was instigated as a commitment by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission in line with its mandate of protecting, promoting and enforcing human rights to those affected by flooding. The report has considered the actions of those entities that share disaster management responsibilities in the context of this event and has made recommendations designed to enhance the safety and well-being of the affected communities in future.
The report has highlighted the complexities of disaster management and for the need for thorough and proper planning, preparation and practising of those arrangements. The report takes cognisance of the systematic difficulties particular in relation to warnings and education. Matters relating to flood monitoring and predicting capabilities are achieved. However, this require coordinated effort and the support a number of entities, hence, the approach needs to include open and frank discussion with and disclosure to current communities about risks faced.
I have been privileged through this report to be invited into homes, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and schools when they are suffering and desperately trying to recover and have been privy to people’s raw emotions. I have been told heart breaking stories such as loss of the entire expected harvest, food in stock, property and homes.
This report has sought to answer as many questions as possible surrounding the flooding of affected communities in Tsholotsho. In doing so, we have been faithful to our commitment to determine and report on the facts. My hope and belief is that the recommendations will ease future risk through better understanding, improved disaster management response, planning and access to information.
I must commend those entities from whom we sought information in particular the District Administrator for Tsholotsho, Schools and the affected communities. Their free, willingly and enthusiastically assisted realising the gravity of the matter.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has received valuable assistance on the visit to Tsholotsho. On behalf of the Commission and on my own behalf, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who provided financial and technical support. I also thank and acknowledge all the Commissioners’ and staff of my office, in particular those who worked directly on the report.
COMMISSIONER E.H. MUGWADI
CHAIRPERSON OF THE ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION