|Sunday, 27 March 2011|
Water in fire hose reels in most buildings was used up during the many times the city ran dry. Tenants that had fire extinguishers admitted the equipment had not been serviced for a long time. In-house fire extinguishers are the first line of defence before the arrival of trained firefighters. However, in Harare both the first line of defence and the trained firefighters are not adequately equipped to deal with fires. Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo whose ministry initiated the deal with the Japanese Firefighters Association in 2006 for the donation of 50 fire tenders to local authorities said to date 22 councils have benefited.
“The support has been in the form of ambulances and fire tenders,” he said. On the current equipment, Harare and Bulawayo benefited. Minister Chombo said Harare and Bulawayo have aged equipment in need of replacement. “This is one of the major reasons why our brigades are sometimes blamed for failing to attend to major accidents,” he said. Minister Chombo said while appreciating donor support, it was incumbent on councils to “mainstream civil protection matters in their medium to long-term plans”.
Mr Morita, who shed tears while reading his prepared speech because of the devastating earthquake in his country, said although the vehicles were not brand new, they were still “in a very serviceable condition”. He thanked Minister Chombo and the people of Zimbabwe for the “kind messages of support and sympathy that have been pouring into my embassy since the catastrophic earthquake and monster Tsunami”.
He said Japan was facing the biggest and most difficult challenge since the end of World War II. Minister Chombo had earlier expressed his condolences to the Japanese ambassador over the loss of human lives. Clr Charles Nyatsuro who stood in for Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda thanked the people of Japan for the assistance.