PROPHETIC Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries Church leader Prophet Walter Magaya has offered financial support to bereaved families and injured congregants following a stampede which claimed 11 lives at his church crusade at Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe on Thursday night.
Speaking at a press briefing in Kwekwe on Friday night, Prophet Magaya said his church had given each of the bereaved families $1 000 for the funeral expenses and pledged to cater for the medical expenses of the 24 seriously injured congregants admitted to Kwekwe District Hospital.
Prophet Magaya said his church would assist the bereaved families financially and morally.
"When we prepared for the crusade we did not anticipate that such a tragedy would occur. We do not blame anyone for the tragedy which claimed 11 lives after a stampede. We have learnt from this incident and we are going to improve in planning when we have such events in future. We have given each of the bereaved families $1,000 towards funeral expenses and we will meet all the medical expenses of those still receiving treatment at Kwekwe District Hospital. We want to express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families for their loss," he said.
Prophet Magaya said his church would also assess individual needs of the bereaved families and make interventions when necessary.
Kwekwe City Council also donated $100 to each of the victims' families and offered graves for free to those that would be buried in Kwekwe.
Meanwhile, police have denied firing teargas into the crowd after the crusade that resulted in the stampede which claimed the 11 lives as congregants were scurrying for cover.
In an interview, Officer Commanding Midlands police Senior Assistant Commissioner Shadreck Mubaiwa said police details deployed to the stadium on the fateful day were not armed with teargas.
Snr Asst Comm Mubaiwa said the congregants confused the sound which was produced by a gas stove which was used by one of the vendors at the stadium, Mr Amos Muzeyiwa, to prepare fresh chips when a 20-litre gas tank he was using exploded, causing the panic.
"There was no teargas which was fired into the crowd. Usually police officers who are deployed to such functions are not given teargas because we do not expect violence to erupt at such gatherings."