Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Rains accompanied by strong winds which pounded Beitbridge district in the last three days have left a trail of destruction at the border post and many villages in Mtetengwe ward 6 area.
A section of the roof of the border post building that houses the arrivals section, the building that houses the Close Circuit TV (CCTV) control room, customs clearing agents’ offices and bonded warehouses were also not spared from the destruction.
According to a weather source at the Meteorological Services Department, the district received a total of 25, 4 mm of rain on Thursday and at its peak it records over 50mm.
The district civil protection unit chairperson Mrs Kiliboni Ndou-Mbedzi said they had assessed the damages and were compiling bills of quantities pending further action.
She said they had also recommended that border workers temporarily vacate building which were partially damaged to avoid any unnecessary casualties.
“The damage at the border post is extensive and during our engagement with border authorities we recommended that the workers vacate partially destroyed buildings pending further structural assessments by engineers.
“We understand that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority had since dispatched engineers from Harare to check on the damages,” said Mrs Ndou-Mbedzi.
She said though no lives were lost during the border incident two officers incurred minor injuries.
Beitbridge Border Post is arguably the busiest inland port in the Sadc region. It handles an estimated 15 000 travellers, 2 500 light vehicles and 600 trucks daily.
Mrs Kiliboni Ndou-Mbedzi a total of 10 homesteads were extensively damaged in ward 6 (Mtetengwe) under Beitbridge East constituency, while several others in ward 1 Tshikwalakwala were damaged recently.
She said some people were left without homes and food.
“Further, roof tops of the school and clinic in the area were partially blown off by strong winds. While we map the way forward in the meantime we are giving the victims water and sanitations facilities including buckets and soap,” she said.
Beitbridge East legislator Cde Albert Nguluvhe said the incident was very unfortunate and that businesses and members of the community should work together with other development agencies in assisting the victims.
“I am out of town but have been in touch with the local leaders including the councillors on the issues on the ground. It is important that we all work together in helping all those who have lost valuables including their homes,” he said.
In separate interviews villagers fro Mtetengwe said it was important for the CPU to increase awareness and education for communities on disaster and risk management issues.
“We are appealing to government through its agencies to increase education in the communities especially those susceptible to disasters during the rainy season. We are very fortunate that none has died since the start of the rainy season,” said Mr Ndanduleni Singo.
The Meteorological Services Department recently warned of violent rains in some parts of the country.