Death, destruction as rains start

Herald Reporters
One person was killed while several others were injured by thunderstorms that hit different parts of the country.

Houses, Government buildings, schools and roads were damaged in the past week.

Government has since assured the nation of warnings of impending disaster and assistance to those affected.

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said Government was responding to challenges caused by the rains.

“We dispatched some teams countrywide to monitor the damage that might be caused,” he said.

“We have some officers who are on high alert at district and provincial level to assist those who have been affected.

“Those affected should immediately report any damage caused by heavy rains and strong winds to get assistance.”

Minister Moyo said the Ministry was in the process of conducting awareness campaigns countrywide to educate people on dangers caused by weather patterns.

In Matabeleland North Province, a storm damaged Komba Primary School in Lupane on Friday, leaving a 7-year-old boy dead and his mother and siblings injured, and wrecked 21 homesteads in Gudubu Village.

The District Civil Protection Unit, which visited the school, is mobilising resources to resuscitate it.

In Hwange, in the Mashala area, about 20 homesteads were damaged.

Thunderstorms are often accompanied by strong winds, a result of rotating winds from the cloud to the earth, especially at the beginning of the season.

In Beitbridge last Thursday, strong winds, which lasted for seven minutes, damaged roofs at shops, a clinic, teachers’ cottages, churches and nine homesteads in the Shashe area.

In Zezani, in Ward 10, authorities were still assessing the extent of the damage by the time of going to press yesterday.

Two people were injured in the Shashe area in Ward 8, with one senior citizen (64) breaking his leg while attempting to flee a house whose walls were falling in.

An 11-year old girl sustained a deep cut below her right knee when she fell on broken glass as she sought to avoid a falling roof at their family house.

At Shashe Business Centre, five shops with stock worth over $250 000, had their roofs blown off.

“My grocery store that was opened

in the 1960s was damaged with stock value of $5 000,” said businessman and farmer Mr Musa Dube.

“As it stands, I will move what I can to safety, including my livestock.”

Additionally, the Maramani community, including the Shashe area, has lost electricity supplies after pylons were uprooted.

The damage to Shashe Clinic, which has a catchment of 4 000 people, has left people having to travel for 50 kilometres to either Swereki or Nottingham to access health facilities.

Authorities at Shashe Secondary School have temporarily suspended classes for 231 pupils until the damage is repaired.

Acting Beitbridge district civil protection committee chairman Mr Jahson Mugodzwa said they were assessing damage in wards 7, 8 and 10.

In Masvingo, heavy rains coupled with strong winds, damaged over 50 homes and buildings including Government offices near Nyika Growth Point in Bikita.

District civil protection chairperson Mr Bernard Hadzirambwi, who is also the District Development Coordinator, said the civil protection team was on the ground assessing the storm’s impact.

“Fortunately, there has not been any casualty reported, but more than 50 houses were affected,” he said.

Mr Hadzirambwi said some of the affected buildings included Beardmore Primary, Nyika Clinic and Bikita District Hospital whose roofs were blown off by the strong winds.

In Manicaland, a hailstorm that hit part of the province from Thursday left a trail of destruction on houses and schools in Chimanimani.

Chimanimani district development coordinator Mr John Misi said 10 classroom blocks were affected at Manase Primary School.

Five classroom blocks, two teachers’ houses and a tent housing 70 ECD pupils were not spared at Kwirire Primary school.

At Nyambeya Primary School, seven classroom blocks and a teacher’s house were destroyed, leaving four grades stranded.

Mr Misi stressed the urgent need to relocate Cyclone Idai survivors to permanent structures.

Chimanimani District was hit by Cyclone Idai in March this year which displaced over 4 000 people.

Most roads and bridges were destroyed and the rehabilitation process is still underway.

A girl from Kazangarare in Hurungwe has been hospitalised after coming into contact with an electric cable that had fallen during a storm.

The primary school girl was hurt after touching live Zesa cables after poles fell during the storm in the Nyamakate area of Hurungwe on Tuesday.

She is now at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, amid fears she could be referred to Harare for her hand to be amputated.

Some houses had their roofs blown off by strong winds in the Negande area of Kariba district.

Gweshe village headman Takemore Siampongo had the roof to his toilet blown off, while roofing sheets at Karomo Siampongo and Wellington Matambudza’s houses were also blown away.

There was flooding on Ume River in Kariba due to heavy rains last week, amid calls on people to avoid crossing flooded rivers.

At least 110 families in wards 2 and 19 of Chegutu District had their homesteads destroyed by strong winds, while Neuso and Danangwe primary schools had their roofs blown off on Friday.

Danangwe Clinic and a mother’s shelter at Neuso Clinic also had their roofs damaged, while shops at Neuso Shopping Centre were destroyed.