Cyclone-induced floods leave trail of destruction

Innocent Ruwende in Midlands
The Cyclone Dineo-induced floods, which wreaked havoc in most parts of the country, left a trail of destruction in the Midlands province, claiming 25 lives, while more than 10 bridges were either swept away or extensively damaged.

Hundreds of small livestock, including goats were swept away and several families were left homeless.

In some parts of Mberengwa district, the floods destroyed electricity and water infrastructure, plunging several areas into darkness.

In Gokwe South, nine people were swept away as well as 86 goats.

Midlands Civil Protection Unit coordinator Mr Thompson Siziba said 105 families were left homeless while crops were destroyed in 45 fields.

“At least 165 chickens were swept away and 15 tonnes of food stock were either soaked in water or washed away. Roads in most districts are no longer traffickable while a lot of properties including documents were also destroyed,” he said.

In Mberengwa, said Mr Siziba, three people died and several bridges were destroyed.

These include Chizungu, Mwanezi, Zverenje, Jeka and Chinjezi, among other smaller bridges.

At least 65 families were left homeless in the district. The floods also destroyed power pylons, which were pulled down and there is no electricity in most parts of Mberengwa.

“As we speak, there is no electricity and water at Mwenezi Clinic, the infrastructure was destroyed,” said Mr Siziba.

He said the same situation was obtaining at Chegato High School and if nothing is done the school might be forced to close.

Mr Siziba said following the destruction of the bridges, people in the area had no access to the Grain Marketing Board depot and Government had since made a grain request to GMB Gwanda.

He said some families were putting up in classrooms before the Red Cross intervened and provided tents.

In Gokwe North, several families were left homeless while four bridges were destroyed.

“Many homesteads were washed away mainly because of the fragile nature of the soils,” said Siziba.

He said Masawi, Chimbande, Denda and Ungwe bridges were destroyed and 11 people were marooned before being rescued by the Air Force of Zimbabwe.

“Several classroom blocks were destroyed in all the districts and most of the road network is extensively damaged, it is difficult for us to access most areas as the roads are no longer traffickable. We are receiving reports everyday from different areas and we are overwhelmed by the reports.”

Mr Siziba said the CPU was concerned that most of the deaths which were recorded in the province were of children either going to school or returning.

Other deaths in the province were recorded in Zvishavane (one), Gweru (three), Kwekwe (three) and Gokwe North (six).

One of the three bodies of the people swept away in Kwekwe, Mr Siziba said, was still to be retrieved by the Police Sub Aqua Unit which has been searching since last week and another body was also missing in Mberengwa.

Mr Siziba said the affected families were given a 50kg bag of maize each by Government, while Red Cross and Oxfam were also providing assistance.

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