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Heavy rains wreak havoc countrywide

by Staff reporter
18 Feb 2020 at 06:31hrs | Views
HEAVY rains which have been pounding most parts of the country continue causing infrastructural damage while landslides in Vumba on Saturday blocked access to the iconic Leopard Rock Hotel, a favourite with tourists to the Eastern Highlands.

Poor drainage systems in some parts of Harare caused flooding in homes that were built on wetlands.

In Mashonaland Central, some areas near the flooded Hoya River like Chiwenga and Kaizeri are still cut off from the rest of the province.

The Vumba landslides occurred on Saturday night at the 29km peg along the Mutare-Vumba Road about 5km from Leopard Rock Hotel.

A mudslide occurred less than 2km from Leopard Rock Hotel, but workmen managed to open the road for use by traffic by midday on Sunday.

When our Harare Bureau visited Vumba yesterday, workmen were still on the ground ensuring the road was fully cleared.

"This was caused by the heavy rains that started around 8pm on Saturday. It rained right up to Sunday. We managed to clear a section of the road by midday on Sunday to enable vehicles to pass," said an employee with a company contracted to repair a section of the road damaged by Cyclone Idai last year.

Also seriously affected by the rains is a section of the road between Leopold Rock Hotel turn-off and Vumba Agriculture Co-operative where rains left a gully, huge boulders and stones on the road.

On this section of the road, there were no workmen on site and it might take days before the road is cleared for use by vehicles.

Manicaland is fast becoming a disaster prone area in the event of heavy rains as the mountains easily give in.

Increased human activity is partly to blame as some people have invaded the thick forests in Vumba and are randomly cutting down trees. This has resulted in land degradation exposing such areas as Vumba to mudslides.

Efforts to get a comment from Leopard Rock management on the damage and costs caused by the mudslides were fruitless.

Matabeleland North Provincial Minister Cde Richard Moyo said the situation was now under control in Binga where the affected families were being housed in temporary structures on safe ground.

"We have been working tirelessly to assist the affected families and they are now a happy lot. We have distributed maize, tents, blankets, clothes, shoes and other basic necessities. The Zimbabwe National Water Authority has been providing water through bowsers and they are in the process of siting for places to drill boreholes for the villagers.

"Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister, Lovemore Matuke, was in Binga today (yesterday) distributing rice to the victims," said Minister Moyo.

Mashonaland Central provincial development co-ordinator Mr Cosmas Chiringa said rains had subsided in most parts of the province although Hoya River was still flooded.

"We have not received any reports of further damage by the rains from all the districts. We are, however, on high alert and will continue monitoring the situation.

"We are also grateful for the support we got from development partners like Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe and World Vision who have been assisting flash flood victims in Mbire and Muzarabani. We will continue assisting the affected families with all the necessary support," said Mr Chiringa.

A Kuwadzana Extension resident, Mrs Dadirai Siyalibonga who said she has been staying in the high density suburb since 1998, said they were experiencing recurrent flooding challenges because of the poor drainage system.

"Every year, we experience this flooding challenge where water gushes into our houses damaging our property. We have raised this issue with the local authority, but it seems our plea is falling on deaf ears," she said.

Source - chronicle