The Zimbabwean government has ordered the closure of schools in areas predicted to be impacted by Cyclone Freddy, as the storm is forecast to hit the country later this week. According to a circular by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, the cyclone is expected to cause flash floods in some regions, with certain areas of the country set to be hit on Friday and Saturday.
Intense Tropical Cyclone Freddy, a powerful and compact tropical system, made landfall in Madagascar on February 21, causing widespread devastation and resulting in the deaths of four people.
As a result, the Permanent Secretary of the education ministry, Tumisang Thabela, has issued an advisory that all institutions providing primary and secondary education in the affected areas should be closed starting from Friday. Students who reside on campus are to remain in their hostels and continue their studies through alternative learning modes in a safe environment.
In a statement, Thabela said, “Tropical Storm Freddy may bring heavy rains over Eastern Zimbabwe and, thereafter, spread to other parts of the country from 24 to 25 February 2023. In view of the impending heavy rains, all institutions providing Primary and Secondary Education are advised that localised flash floods caused by Tropical Storm Freddy are probable in parts of Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South (parts bordering Masvingo), Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central provinces, as well as Harare Metropolitan province.”
“Heads of schools in these provinces are advised to exercise caution by notifying day pupils not to attend school on Friday 24 February 2023, or to attempt to cross any flooded rivers. Please be guided accordingly,” Thabela added.
The Meteorological Services Department has forecasted heavy rainfall and strong winds in the hit areas starting this evening until Sunday, with localised heavy rainfall in excess of 50 mm and flash flooding in areas with saturated soils.
The Zimbabwean government has been taking measures to prevent loss of life and damage to infrastructure as the cyclone approaches, and the closure of schools is a part of these efforts.