Veld fires in Zimbabwe have killed 18 people this year, with the hectarage burnt up 58.6 per cent from last year, a cabinet minister said on Tuesday.
“The nation is being informed that the year 2022 is showing an upsurge in uncontrolled fire problems threatening the gains made in the past,” said Monica Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.
A total of 5,386 fire incidents have been reported countrywide so far this year, burning 244,227.34 hectares of land, according to a post-cabinet media briefing.
Mutsvangwa said the cabinet had strengthened strategies to manage veld fires, including constituting fire coordination teams at district, provincial and national levels, acquiring modern firefighting equipment and imposing stiffer penalties.
Ten farmworkers were burned to death last week, some of whom beyond recognition, in a veld fire in Esigodini, Matabeleland South Province, prompting Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to call for the development of a national veld fire strategy.