Massive disaster as violent storm blows off Hwahwa prison roof


A thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds blew off the roofing of a section of Hwahwa Prison in Gweru last Friday, prison authorities said.

Prisoners were moved to buildings that remained intact, compounding overcrowding problems at the facility.

Further destruction was reported in Matabeleland North and Masvingo where some families were left in the open.

Superintendent Tineyi Makeredza, in charge at the prison, said the winds blew away the roofs of nine cells at around 2PM. The prison has a capacity of 1,200 inmates but was already holding 1,460 before the incident.

Assistant Commissioner Clemence Chigogo, the deputy officer commanding the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services in Midlands Province said the storm also affected the houses of about 20 prison officers and their families in the camp.

“This is the second time we have experienced such a disaster. It also happened in 2016. We need materials from the corporate world to rectify the problem,” Chigogo said.

Some residents of Mtuya and Soweto suburbs in Dete were left homeless after roofs of their homes were also blown off.

St Francis Roman Catholic School had two classroom blocks damaged and roofs blown away resulting in stationery being soaked and furniture damaged.

Local councillor Stanley Torima said: “There was a lot of destruction and many houses had their roofs blown off including a local school where furniture was damaged and books soaked in water. Some of those affected had to be accommodated by their neighbours.”

In Masvingo, residents of Runyararo West suburb whose homes were built on a wetland were affected by the heavy rains on Monday and were counting their losses owing to flash floods that resulted in water getting inside their houses and damaging property.

After a prolonged dry spell, weather forecasts are predicting rainfall almost daily until after Christmas for much of the country. ZimLive.

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