Lightning, floods claim six lives

Herald Reporter

SIX people were killed by the recent heavy rains while a lot of infrastructure was damaged, and some destroyed, in various parts of the country.

Crops and livestock were also badly affected by the heavy rains which fell from last Friday to Sunday.

The deaths of people and damage to infrastructure was mainly due to floods, lightning, falling trees and collapse of infrastructure such as schools.

In a statement yesterday, Ministry of Local Government and Public Works spokesperson, Mr Gabriel Masvora, said while the rains that had been forecast by the Meteorological Services Department brought good prospects of crop yields, they had claimed lives and property.

“The rains were experienced in most parts of the country as forecasted by the Meteorological Services Department (MSD), thus raising hopes for a better agricultural season,” said Mr Masvora. “However, the rains left a trail of destruction in Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South, Mashonaland Central and the Midlands. 

“These provinces recorded incidents of drowning, deaths of persons and livestock due to lightning, destruction of infrastructure such as schools, houses, roads and bridges and destruction of crops.

“A total of six deaths were recorded during the period in question. In Mazowe District, a Headmistress died on the spot after a tree fell on a vehicle she was seated in.”

Mr Masvora said of the six who died, two had drowned upon attempting to cross flooded rivers in Gwanda and Mutasa districts, while two were struck by lightning in Chivi, with the other succumbing to injuries sustained after a tree fell in Mazowe.

The other victim died in Gokwe South district after a house collapsed due to heavy rains.

“It is worrisome that a number of schools were damaged by the rains and strong winds at a time when the first term of 2023 was starting. 

“A number of houses were also affected by flooding particularly in areas with poor drainage and low lying areas,” Mr Masvora said.

Outlining the damage across the country, Mr Masvora said Muparuri Primary school in Ward 7, Zaka district and Zihwa School in Chivi had their roofs for classroom blocks blown off due to strong winds associated with the rains while a classroom block was damaged at St Martins, Chivi.

At least three houses had their roofs blown off by strong winds in Mwenezi and Chivi districts with a private shop in Chivi damaged as well. In Mbire district, Mashonaland Central province, more than 150 ha of maize, sorghum, cowpeas were destroyed by floods while 20 A 1 farmers lost a combined 10 ha of tobacco.

 Four beasts were struck by lightning in Chipinge and Mutare rural, in Manicaland Province.

 Nineteen houses were totally damaged while 29 had their roofs blown off or partially blown off by strong winds. Twenty-two schools experienced varying destruction across the country.

“The public is advised to stay informed about the weather through daily forecasts, 10-day bulletins and seasonal forecast updates via the official Meteorological Services Department platforms. 

“The Department of Civil Protection is advising citizens not to relax despite the termination of the alert issued recently,” Mr Masvora said.

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