Rains accompanied by strong winds that fell on Monday left a trail of destruction in Mberengwa after two schools had their roofs blown off by strong winds, while several other infrastructures were also damaged.
The country has been witnessing some rainfall activity since last month and some infrastructural damage has already been recorded due to rain, wind and lighting.
The strong winds damaged roofs at two primary schools in Mberengwa East constituency, a church, electricity poles and two homesteads, according to the area`s member of parliament.
“We have a disaster that befell us in Mberengwa in my constituency because of the rains that are falling, which are accompanied by strong winds and lightning. We have two schools so far I have been informed of that they were damaged by the storm yesterday (Monday),” said Mberengwa East MP, Marko Raidza.
He said that they were still assessing the extent of the destruction, but preliminary indications were that the schools lost roofs and homes had walls damaged.
“We have a school called Mbirashava where the roof of one classroom block was blown off by winds, while another school in Ruraugwe community and a church in the same area were also affected. We have two homesteads that were affected and also some electricity poles fell because of the storm.”
Raidza said the destruction of school infrastructure had affected preparations by Grade 7 learners for the ZIMSEC exams, which are set to start on Monday next week. He said he would be engaging the Mberengwa District Civil Protection Unit (CPU), Mberengwa Rural District Council and the Mberengwa District Development Coordinator over the incident.
“Right now, we are busy gathering information to determine other areas where destruction could have happened so that we inform the CPU, our council and the DDC so that they activate the local CPU committee and try to find ways to assist the affected learners considering that these are primary schools and there will be Grade 7 exams soon,” said Raidza.
Raidza encouraged villagers in Mberengwa to heed weather warnings from the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) and to take safety precautionary measures during times of thunderstorms. He added that they should also ensure they protect their livestock from extreme weather conditions.
Widespread thunderstorms were recorded across the country on Tuesday, with places such as West Nicholson (Matabeleland South) receiving 74mm and Zvishavane recording 32mm of rainfall, according to a weather update from the MSD. The Met department forecasted Midlands Province to be “partly cloudy and warm with chances of late afternoon thundershowers” today.
The rains that fell this week have left some rivers flowing in Mberengwa and the development has led to some roads becoming impassable due to a lack of bridges. At one of the bridges on Mabori river, some villagers could be seen stranded as their vehicles could not cross.
Some villagers complained about the state of the roads and bridges and called on the government to rehabilitate the infrastructure.
“It pains kuti munhu travelled all the way from either Hre/Byo….wosvika paBridge mabori hauchayambuki…apo uchiona musha wako uripambiri kwegwizi vana vachidaidzira kuti baba vauya wozotenderera nembuyanehanda…Tommy…Utsanana…Chabwira wodzsvika pamba paMuseve (It is painful that one travels all the way from either Harare or Bulawayo then upon getting to Mabori bridge they cannot cross, even when you can see your destination from there. You are then forced to use the long Mbuya Nehanda-Tommy-Utsanana-Chabwira route to get home at Museve),” said one villager.
Another local said some of the roads had not been properly rehabilitated since the year 2000 and the grading that had been done on the roads only covered part of it.
“Road yaparara iya hameno vhura zvaya kanaya so kut iri kutofambika hre mota dzarovera dzanzwa muya (That road is badly damaged and since it has rained, I do not know if it is trafficable because a lot of vehicles have difficulties moving on it,” said another.
The rains came at a time when many roads that were destroyed by heavy rains during the 2020/22 season had not been rehabilitated. The government in February this year declared all roads to be a state of national disaster and shortly after launched an Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) to repair some of the badly damaged roads.