Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
Six people have died among them a two-year-old girl in veld fires that swept across some parts of the country last week. Among the dead were three members of the same family.
Of the six who died, four are from Mashonaland West province while Manicaland and Mashonaland East recorded one death each.
At least 157 fires were recorded countrywide last week leading to the death of six people and destruction of 135 385,51 hectares of land.
Environmental Management Agency education and publicity director Mr Steady Kangata, confirmed the incidents.
“The windy conditions experienced in the past week have exacerbated the destruction caused by veld fires including the death of these people. A total of 157 fire incidences resulting in the destruction of 135 385,51ha were reported in the week ending September 12, 2015,” he said.
A 35-year-old man from Manicaland died while a five-year-old girl also lost her life.
Mr Kangata warned people against starting open fires.
“People should desist from starting open fires because it quickly leads to veld fire outbreaks because we are in the fire season which starts on the 31st of July and ends on the 31st of October each year,” he said.
Veld fires ravaged parts of Zvimba and Hurungwe districts in Mashonaland West province leading to deaths and destruction of property.
In the first incident, a wild fire swept through vast tracts of land in Trelawney in Zvimba District on Friday destroying homes and property.
The fire destroyed 54 homes at Space Bona Farm including a house in which two-year-old Rutendo Sande was sleeping.
Rutendo was left with a neighbour when her mother went to help douse the fire that was approaching and already engulfing another compound.
Zvimba Rural District Council Ward 20 councillor Mr Alpha Muyesa, who narrated the horrific incident, said the fire was accompanied by strong winds.
“We could not do anything to save the situation as the heat could be felt several metres away,” said Cllr Muyesa.
“The girl died a painful death and nothing could be done to save her and the property.”
Rutendo’s body was taken to Banket District Hospital mortuary on Friday.
Zvimba District administrator and district Civil Protection Unit chairman Mr Andrew Tizora, appealed for assistance as people were sleeping in a classroom.
In Hurungwe, Esther Chitumba (33), her daughter Primrose Chigodora (5) and nephew Samson Chigodora (6) died in a bushy area 250 metres from their new home.
They were burnt within six-metre distance from each other at Plot 8 Sholar Park Farm in Ward 20 of Hurungwe district.
EMA provincial education and publicity officer Mr Munyaradzi Nhariswa, said it was unfortunate that the deceased ran away from the safety of fire guarded homestead.
“The mother ran into the bush holding the children away from the homestead which was not burnt as it was protected by fire guard. The fireguard had been prepared earlier around the house. It’s puzzling to comprehend why they left a protected area,” he said.
The bodies were discovered by the father Mushamudiki Chigodora (38) upon arrival from the garden.
Their bodies were taken to Karoi hospital mortuary.
The veld fire affected five farms including Sholar Park, Kangerie, Pelele, Manni and Travios.