Stakeholder Coordination in the Tokwe - Mukosi Disaster Response in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe

Whitehead Zikhali
2018 Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal  
Physical displacement and natural disasters have occurred in Zimbabwe since preindependence times, always posing a threat to human life and developmental gains. Disasters in the form of flooding continuously contribute to loss in human lives, destruction of shelter, damage to household assets and in internal displacement. In 2014, a combination of high rainfall and damages on the Tokwe-Mukosi dam wall contributed to flooding of communities in close proximity to the dam. The disastrous outcome
more » ... s the flooding of the immediate catchment area which communities were unable to cope with. The government sought for assistance from disaster management actors during and after the flood with mixed response. This paper explores roles played by stakeholders in responding to flooding of Tokwe-Mukosi dam in Masvingo Province. Data for this paper was collected through structured interviews, observations and focus group discussions. Relying on 'habitus' and 'pastoral power' as conceptual tools, the paper broadly found out that communities resorted to various reservoirs of knowledge and experience to limit their post-disaster vulnerabilities while also demonstrating abilities to negotiate various power structures. Finally, the paper recommends that the interventions from various agencies recognise the agency of displaced actors in attempting to alleviate challenges. In addition, researchers ought to equally embrace more innovative methods and conceptual lens when exploring social phenomena in order to go beyond narrow narrative approaches and developmentalist discourses. DISPLACEMENT/HUMAN MOBILITY INDUCED BY FLOODING Disasters can cause displacement of individuals, households and communities. Hydrometeorological disasters such as flooding have in the past decade affected a number of communities in both rural and urban areas of Zimbabwe. Many rural settlements situated in flood prone areas such as valleys and in close proximity to dams and rivers have suffered the most from impacts of flooding. Increased poverty in rural communities have also increased vulnerability to disasters in these communities. The reason for this is that most households in the rural areas live in traditional houses made of pole and clay/mud which are easily destroyed by flooding and at times by heavy rains, causing displacement temporarily or permanently. With regard to the disaster which occurred in Tokwe-Mukosi, rising water level and spillage from Tokwe-Mukosi dam caught communities near the dam off guard. Due to the severity of the flooding which affected households in Masvingo and Chivi districts, the government decided to relocate the affected households to Chingwizi area located in Mwenezi district. This paper presents findings on a case study carried out on households that were displaced by flooding of the Tokwe-Mukosi dam in Zimbabwe. Data collection was done through structured interviews, discussions with affected households and observations. While the literature review highlights the litany of studies and reports which emerged in the immediate aftermath of the disaster (among them Oxfam
doi:10.14738/assrj.58.5057 fatcat:wzhxzrxdmvf4zjxll6r656mgrq