China aided meteorological facilities are of high quality and very useful, said Director of Zimbabwe meteorological department

China aided meteorological facilities are of high quality and very useful, said Director of Zimbabwe meteorological department



16 December 2016

Amos Makarau(right)accepted the interview.

“The meteorological facilities aided by China are not only high quality but also very useful,” said Dr. Amos Makarau, Director of the Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe, on November 25, when he was interviewed by China Meteorological News Press during the sixteenth session of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Basic Systems (CBS) in Guangzhou, China.

In 2013, the Chinese government embarked on the meteorological facility aid project for African countries. Comoros, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, DRC, Cameroon and Sudan were listed as the recipient countries. The aid project encompasses automatic weather stations, and a whole set of forecasting systems and software. In June, 2016, China has completed the installation and training work of meteorological facilities in Zimbabwe.

Meteorologists of Zimbabwe were trained on how to operate CMACast. Photo from China Huayun Group  

It has been nearly half year passed. How do they operate the facilities? Amos Makarau delightedly expressed that meteorological facilities provided by China are of high quality and very useful. After its operation, Zimbabwe has made three breakthroughs: for the first time monitoring forest fire through satellite, building own weather TV studio, and releasing multiple warnings through weather early-warning radios.

Amos Makarau said that Zimbabwe has a high coverage of forest and grassland and is always exposed to wildfire especially in dry season from May to October. In the past, forest fire monitoring was a headache to the government. After the installation of China’s FY-3 satellite data reception and application system, the meteorological service can take advantage of images captured by FY-3 satellite and accurately pinpointed the location of the fire. It is a great help for the government to extinguish fire.

The installation of meteorological TV studio system provided by China is another case in point. He said that with this system the weather forecast host can improve recording until satisfied rather than going to TV station. And this system is equipped with digitized and modern technologies. The weather program made by the studio becomes more and more popular in the nation.

Zimbabwe is under threat of frequent rainstorms, floods, and thunder & lightening. Timely early-warning is of vital significance. He told the reporter that weather early-warning radios provided by China are instrumental in ensuring timely weather forecast and early warning. To optimize the benefits of the facility, the meteorological service department has co-operated with departments of health, agriculture, civil and others to disseminate warning and useful information for the rural areas.

Chinese engineer trained on maintenance of autonomous observing meteorological station. Photo from China Huayun Group 

To help Zimbabwe improve forecasting capabilities, China also incorporated the Meteorological Information Comprehensive Analysis and Process System (MICAPS) which is independently developed by China Meteorological Administration (CMA), into the aid project. Amos Makarau spoke highly of this system. He said that this system is very convenient and equipped with powerful data analysis and process capabilities. MICAPS enables the upgrading of the forecasting operational system in Zimbabwe and has gained popularity among forecasters.

Since 2016, CMA dispatched 21 meteorological engineers to conduct installation and training in Zimbabwe. They have overcome various difficulties and trained us how to conduct equipment maintenance and use software.

According to the assessment, the aid project has enhanced meteorological disaster prevention and early warning capabilities by 60% in Zimbabwe. This is a revolutionary transformation. Amos Makarau also said that the huge lift in forecasting level has shortened the distance between meteorological service and the general public. A growing number of social institutions and NGOs hope to cooperate with the meteorological service.

The aid project has brought tangible benefits. Amos Makarau extended sincere gratitude to China. As President of WMO Regional Association for Africa,he hopes that in the future China will continue to support African countries in personnel training and early warning capability building. “Most African countries are least developed countries. They are vulnerable to climate change. We expect to enhance disaster monitoring and prediction capabilities through China-Africa cooperation and learning from the experience of China. ” he said. (Dec. 08)

Reporter: Zhang Yong and Liu Shuqiao

Editor: Liu Shuqiao


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