Chimanimani local leadership, consisting traditional leaders, councillors and legislators, has urged community members to practice sound environmental conservation methods as a way of mitigating the effects of natural disasters, such as floods, and to make the area safely habitable again.

The sentiments come after the devastating Cyclone Idai that took thousands of lives and left hundreds more homeless.

Village heads noted that the majority of their subjects were practicing river bank cultivation, while some even constructed their houses within the prohibited range of 30 meters away from the river.

One village head, Mrs Elizabeth Mutingwende highlighted that the practice is getting out of hand as majority of the community has lost respect for village heads and are ignorant of their respective roles in the area.

While acknowledging the existence of this habit in his jurisdiction, Chief Muusha Chenjerai Maosa said he has initiated outreach programmes to educate villagers on climate change, environmental preservation and the role of traditional leaders in communities.

According to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), farming activities or building of structures must be done at least 30 meters away from the river.

There is therefore need to educate communities, especially in Manicaland Province where many people were in the recent past affected by floods and landslides.