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Govt Scales Up Efforts To Manage Veld Fires As Deaths Continue Increasing

1 year agoWed, 19 Oct 2022 18:39:19 GMT
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Govt Scales Up Efforts To Manage Veld Fires As Deaths Continue Increasing

The government has scaled up efforts to manage veld fires following an increase in cases and deaths in the country this year.

In a post Cabinet briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said several strategies have been put in place to manage veld fires.

She said as of 12 October 2022, a total of 5 386 fire incidences were reported and burnt 1.2 million hectares of land while 18 lives have been lost in the infernos. Senator Mutsvangwa said:

Cabinet received a report on the National Status and Strategies to Manage Veld Fires as presented by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu. The nation is being informed that the year 2022 is showing an upsurge in uncontrolled fire problems threatening the gains realised in the past.

As at 12 October 2022, a total of 5 386 fire incidences were reported and burnt 1 244 227.34 hectares of land. The majority of the fires were recorded in A1 and A2 Resettlement areas, protected areas such as Safari areas, national parks and gazetted forests. The area burnt increased by 58.6 percent from the same period in 2021. The nation has lost 18 precious lives this year from these fires.

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Way forward:

Cabinet has resolved to strengthen the implementation of a number of strategies to manage veld fires. These include:

i). Constituting Fire Coordination Teams at the district, provincial and national levels. The teams will work with AGRITEX to facilitate localised training, education and awareness of fire management.

ii). The Forestry Commission is expected to immediately conduct fire fighting refresher courses in Rural District Councils.

iii). Establishment of rapid response teams in all villages and wards across the country,

iv). Acquisition of modern fire-fighting equipment in the medium and long term and setting up of teams for fire audits.

v). Stiffer penalties for offenders and the traditional leaders to play a prominent role.

vi). Temporary deposit accounts in the districts and provinces be replenished with petty cash for prompt response to disasters using the country’s decentralised civil protection structures. 

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