By Paidamoyo Chipunza
RAINS following the downgraded cyclone Dineo have left dozens of people homeless and destroyed infrastructure that include roads and dams across the country. In a statement yesterday, the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) said most of the affected areas were Umzingwane, Matopo Kezi, Zvishavane, Insiza, Gwanda, Bulilima, Bulawayo, Mberengwa and Tsholotsho.
In Umzingwane, several homesteads in Esihlengeni area succumbed to excessive moisture and heavy rains on Friday, while in Matopo Kezi three homesteads were marooned by Tuli River.
“Altogether 21 people (from Matopo Kezi) were trapped. The local headman mobilised the community and successfully rescued the families,” said the DCP.
The DCP said on the same day, a child was also marooned in Zvishavane (Ngezi River), and was successfully rescued despite the swift currents.
It said the southern parts of Insiza experienced unprecedented flooding making it inaccessible as rivers were all full and bridges were overflowing and damaged.
“The road network was badly damaged in some places. Several small dams failed. Wanezi River burst its banks up to a kilometre in (some) places. As a result, some families in the Mazeya area self-evacuated and spent the night at the local school. The water pump at Filabusi Town was submerged,” it further said.
In Gwanda district, the road network and bridges were badly damaged in some areas, while in Bulilima several homesteads in Makhulela, Bambadzi and Huwana were also damaged.
In Bulawayo city, a number of homes in Mahatshula, Kingsdale, Emganwini, Nketa 8 and Cowdry Park were flooded while a building housing Nandos fast foods partially collapsed injuring 4 people.
The cause of the building collapse is yet to be determined.
Mberengwa district also had 10 homes badly damaged.
A male adult drowned in Mwenezi River from a canoe accident.
In Tsholotsho District (Siphepha area) was marooned by Gwayi River while six homes were badly damaged in Dinyane.
The DCP said the national civil protection committee has since dispatched teams to support district committees, which are currently conducting damage assessments and rendering assistance where necessary.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross was also assisting with tarpaulins and other relief services.
“Indications from Meteorological Services Department are that the northern areas of the country will continue receiving rains from the 18th to the 22nd of February.
“Cumulative precipitation is expected to exceed 150mm for the western and central areas of the country,” said the DCP.
The public is urged to continue to take necessary measures in case of flooding and ensure that homes are safe.