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2 killed as thunderstorms continue

by Staff reporter
19 Nov 2019 at 05:49hrs | Views
TWO people died yesterday after a commuter omnibus they had parked in Mbare was hit by a falling tree following a thunderstorm that hit Harare.

This comes as the Meteorological Services Department(MSD) is forecasting the wet spell to spread to all parts of the country until tomorrow. The  two people who were killed yesterday bring the death toll to three after a seven-year-old boy was killed when Komba Primary school in Lupane was hit by a storm.

Scattered thunderstorms yesterday occurred in areas along and north of the watershed with heavier falls reported in Harare Metropolitan, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central. Notable falls were recorded at Belvedere 31mm, Chibero 26mm, Sanyati 22mm while Kariba and Zvimba both recorded 21mm.

The Mbare incident occurred at around 1400 hours when heavy rains characterised by violent winds destroyed trees in various places around Harare. When our Harare Bureau arrived at the scene, the two bodies were already covered and mobs of people from the area were gathered to catch a glimpse of the scene.

Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident.  

"Two people died on the spot after heavy rains struck down a tree which fell on top of a commuter omnibus which had people inside," he said.

A close friend to the deceased, Mr Ephraime Mandizva, said he was shocked by what had happened because he had last seen them just a few moments earlier.

"We were together in the car before I decided to go back to work, at first they tried to stop me from going but I was persistent. When I came back, I was received by the sad news," he said.

In Kariba, roofs were blown off on Sunday night while early yesterday some buildings in Chegutu had their roofs blown off. Mashonaland West provincial development co-ordinator, Mrs Cecilia Chitiyo, said there have not been any major damages except for those experienced in Chegutu and Kutama in Zvimba district.

"We continue to monitor the situation and hope to get updates from the districts," she said.

In Mashonaland Central, more than 100 families in Kachuta Village, Guruve were left homeless, while schools and clinics had roofs blown off by heavy rains accompanied by strong winds that pounded the area last Saturday.

The most affected villagers in Ward 18 lost foodstuffs and inputs they had recently received under the Presidential Input Scheme. At Chemachinda Primary School five houses, a classroom and administration blocks were badly damaged while at Kachuta Clinic all wards were destroyed and the medicine at the clinic pharmacy was also affected.

In a statement yesterday, the MSD said they expect today to be cloudy and warm with scattered afternoon and evening thundershowers in Matabeleland North, Midlands, Matabeleland South, northern parts of Manicaland, Bulawayo and Harare Metropolitan as well as all Mashonaland provinces. Localised heavy downpours cannot be ruled out especially in Matabeleland South, Masvingo and South of Manicaland.

"Southern districts of Manicaland and Masvingo should be mostly sunny and hot with chances of isolated afternoon thundershowers.  

"In case of severe thunderstorms, do not seek shelter under a tree or in isolated sheds as these are prone to lightning strikes. Gusty winds may pose danger as they could blow off unsecure roofs of classroom blocks and homes. Do not rush outside; it is safe to be under a desk or table," said the MSD.

Meanwhile, the cloud band affecting Mashonaland provinces and Matabeleland North should spread to cover much of the country.

Source - chronicle