Tragedy strikes as violent storms and flash floods kill 62 people in Zimbabwe

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Strong winds, heavy storms and flash flooding have killed 62 people and injured 28 others since October 12, with Government activating all civil protection structures, Local Government and Public Works communications director Mr Gabriel Masvora has said.

Matabeleland South recorded the highest number of deaths with 23, followed by Manicaland with nine and Mashonaland West eight.

About 1 529 families had their homes damaged by the heavy rains and strong winds in some parts of the country while 98 schools and 11 clinics were also damaged.

“Government has capacitated civil protection structures with 50 tonnes of maize grain for each province and has recently availed fuel to conduct rapid assessments and dispatchment of relief in the form of food and non-food items to affected communities across the country. Partners have complemented Government efforts to mobilise resources for the national response,’’ he said.

Civil protection committees in the districts had been activated and were on standby for the full rainfall season.

Relief distribution to affected districts in the form of food and non-food items was being done and awareness programmes and information dissemination on dangers of the rainfall season were being intensified.

On December 2 in Hwange district of Matabeleland North, Nengasha Primary School had roofs of a classroom block and a storeroom blown off by strong wind, destroying asbestos sheets, ridges and trusses.

On 8 December , a teacher’s cottage at Kulibambila Secondary School had its roof blown off by strong winds and Chilanga Primary School had its dinning room roof blown off by winds.

On December 10, St Francis Xavier Primary School had roofs of three classroom blocks and the headmaster’s office blown off by strong winds.

“Property worth US$13 666 was destroyed. Following strong winds experienced in the district, St Mary’s Primary School had roofs of four classroom blocks blown off by the winds.

On December 11, strong winds accompanied by a thunderstorm destroyed two classroom blocks at Detema Secondary School, Hwange District. Rains also damaged Lumbora Secondary School when the roof of one classroom block was blown off by strong winds.

In Masvingo City, 13 households of Runyararo West suburb were affected by heavy rains on 11 December when flash floods destroyed their property.

On December 10, Chivi District received heavy rains and as a result, a family in ward 16 had two members from Gandashanga village marooned on an island on Tugwi River. The district civil protection unit was activated and the two were rescued yesterday after the river had subsided.

In Chiredzi district strong winds caused serious destruction to infrastructure and property in Ward 1 and 2 on 11 December. Dombo Primary, Sangwe Primary School and Chiyambiro Secondary School had their roofs blown off.

On the same day, St Joseph township shops had their roofs blown away.

On 11 December, Chitora Primary School in Manicaland had roofs of its computer studies and administration blocks, two toilets, one teacher’s house and a classroom blown off by strong winds.

In Midlands province yesterday, a violent storm was experienced in Zvishavane District resulting in the collapse of Zvishavane District Hospital’s cholera treatment camp. No casualties or injuries were reported.

A thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds blew off a section of Wha Wha Prison roof in Gweru on December 8.

Some parts of the country have started receiving rains over the weekend and improved rains are expected countrywide up to Christmas.

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