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Rains expose Bulawayo's street drainage

by Staff reporter
02 Oct 2023 at 06:21hrs | Views
The heavy rains that fell over Bulawayo on Saturday laid bare the city's inadequate storm drainage system. This deficiency was particularly evident as roads became waterlogged, exacerbated by unregulated vending activities and littering.

The blocked drainage system made the city center vulnerable to sudden flash floods, endangering both motorists and pedestrians, as well as causing damage to the road infrastructure. Street vending, notably on Sixth Avenue and near the vegetable market, contributed to rampant littering in the city center. Much of this garbage ended up clogging the drainage system, and some vendors even stored their goods and waste in the drains.

The combination of waterlogging and potholes turned driving within the city into a nightmare. Major roads in Bulawayo, including Queen Lozikeyi Street, George Silundika Street, and Robert Mugabe Way, which are known to be susceptible to flooding, resembled river deltas due to the poor drainage.

People were forced to wade through flooded streets, some even barefoot with shoes in hand, while parents had to assist their children in crossing the inundated roads.

In interviews, residents criticized the Bulawayo City Council for its failure to address the recurring issue of flooding, especially during the rainy season. They expressed concern that if not resolved, the city might face a resurgence of waterborne diseases like cholera, as stagnant pools of water provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

One resident, Mr. Billy Ncube, called upon the council to take concrete actions to address the city's challenges and deliver on its promises. He emphasized the need for newly elected councillors to demonstrate their commitment to serving the community, rather than self-interest.

Mr. Ncube also pointed out that vendors in certain areas worsen the situation by indiscriminately disposing of waste and blocking storm drainage.

The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairman, Mr. Ambrose Sibindi, echoed the concerns about poor drainage and littering. He urged the council to enforce anti-littering laws and ensure that drainage systems are cleared before the rainy season. He also called on residents to refrain from littering the streets.

Mr. Winos Dube, the chairperson of the Bulawayo United Residents Association, expressed disappointment over the city's failure to plan adequately for the rainy season. He called on the council to invest in technology and equipment for unclogging the drainage system to prevent property damage and safeguard lives.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Donaldson Mabutho acknowledged the challenges and pledged that the council would address them urgently. He mentioned plans to engage residents on preventive measures, assess drainage systems, and deploy teams to tackle issues in areas with high vendor concentrations.

Source - The Herald
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