Government has recognised the need to establish effective disaster management and risk reduction mechanisms to mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

This is amid the realisation that government was ill equipped to deal with the effects of Cyclone Idai which has so far claimed more than 100 lives.

The intergovernmental panel on climate change report of 2013, points to a progressive rise in tropical cyclones in terms of prevalence and intensity over the last 30 years with the latest being Cyclone Idai which has so far ravaged Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Rescue and relief efforts continue in all the affected areas but the latest catastrophe has laid bare the lack of disaster preparedness and risk reduction mechanisms especially in face of increasing risks of future occurrences.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa highlighted the need for Zimbabwe to capacitate disaster management mechanisms to reduce casualties in future.

“What we need to do in future is to make sure that we rethink the way we put our structures so that they can withstand the gusty winds and flash floods caused by these cyclones. Also it is of paramount importance for government to disseminate information in a proper manner and evacuate the people in affected areas,” he said.

Physics lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe Mrs Juliet Gwenzi said despite the Meteorological Services Department warning of flash floods Thursday last week, people underestimated the severity of the impending danger due to lack of awareness and interpretation of weather information.

Mrs Gwenzi said coordinated efforts are required in future to mitigate the effects of these cyclones.

“The Civil Protection Department needs to work in tandem with other organisations and also be capacitated with resources to enable the evacuation and education of people in affected areas,” she said.

Global warming due to climate change point to storms shifting polewards which means that those storms which previously existed in the equatorial waters of central south Indian Ocean are now increasingly occurring in the southern tropical region including Zimbabwe.

Building strong infrastructure along the coastal regions and storm which surges in potential risky areas will reduce future damages inflicted by category 5 cyclones such as Cyclone Idai.

Better forecasting systems and interpretation of weather information to save lives will also be of paramount importance.