By Locadia Mavhudzi
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) says it requires urgent funding to continue work on the rehabilitation of the famous Chireya gulley in Gokwe as the current scenario poses a threat of flooding into the nearby Chireya Mission hospital in case of heavy rains.
EMA, with support from the World Wide Fund for Nature, embarked on a USD 750 000 project to rehabilitate gullies along Ume river to stop land degradation with a target to cover the area around Chireya business centre.
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Provincial Manager, Mr Benson Bhasera said they have so far constructed over 2 000 storm gabions along Ume river to re- direct the flow of water which was flowing in the direction of the hospital area, with a potential to erode.
“We are working on rehabilitation work in the Chireya gulley where we have so far constructed over 2000 storm gabions along Ume river at a cost of 300 000 dollars. We are only targeting an area of 200 meters which is close to Chireya Mission Hospital. We have hired a contractor who is working with the community to ensure the flow of the water is redirected. However, more work still needs to be done to control environmental degradation in the whole Chireya area.”
He said the lesser rains received this year became advantageous to the sordic soils in Chireya as more water was able to penetrate into the ground.
Mr Bhasera said they have also spearheaded conservation and livelihood projects for the Chireya community in the form of bee keeping, nutrition gardens, tree planting and veld fire management.
Bhasera also highlighted that EMA, together with its partners like Agritex, are also closely monitoring the construction of contour ridges in the farms of villagers in Chireya so as to control the occurrence of land degradation.
The Chireya community has made continuous calls to government and partners to ensure that their environmental situation is restored.Community environmental committee member Elizabeth Nenyunka said her community is now aware of the need to seek information pertaining to development challenges happening in their area.
“We are grateful for the working relations that we have forged with the local environmental stakeholders as we continue to push for the reclamation of the pending gully. The process has been done in a transparent and collaborative manner from the start.”
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has so far injected 1.3 million towards the reclamation of Chireya gulley and other conservation projects within the Hwange – Sanyati biodiversity conservation project.