Hwange families pick up the pieces after horror storm

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
MR Percy Daka (34) and his wife are living in a community hall which they share with two other families after their houses were recently destroyed by a storm in Hwange.

The houses are owned by National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and occupants include the parastatal’s workers and other residents who are renting.

Mr Daka is recovering from head injuries sustained when the violent storm hit Hwange on December 28 and blew off his rented house’s roof and asbestos sheets landed on him.

The storm lasted for more than an hour and destroyed about 50 houses in the Ngumija section of the NRZ suburb.

The damage was intense on about 18 of the houses and three of them were destroyed to slab level as the rainstorm razed through the old suburb.

Most of the houses were built using prefabricated material.

Just like Mr Daka, Mr Donald Sibanda (38) narrowly escaped death after a big tree landed on the roof of a house trapping him inside during the storm.

He was rescued by neighbours who pulled him from underneath the rubble about an hour after the storm ended.

They are now housed at Railton Hall while several other families voluntarily moved in with relatives in the same Ngumija suburb.

A majority of the houses have detached toilets and many of them were also destroyed.

The Civil Protection Committee (CPC) in Hwange and some well-wishers have been assisting the three families with foodstuffs while efforts are being made to get tents for them.

Mr Daka who sustained a deep cut on the head, was alone as his wife and two children had gone to their rural home and his wife returned after the incident.

“I was indoors chatting on my phone when the storm started in the afternoon. The strong winds lifted part of the roof and I took it lightly thinking it would end without much damage. Moments later I saw myself outside lying down next to my TV screen and I don’t know how I was thrown outside.

“The wind also blew asbestos sheets which landed on me and as we speak my whole body is still painful. All the household property was damaged. We wish we could be assisted with a decent place to stay because this place is not safe,” he said.

Mr Sibanda said he still cannot believe how he survived the storm.

He only salvaged a refrigerator.

“I was in the house when the strong winds fell a tree and it landed on the house and destroyed the roof and walls and I was buried under the rubble and tree. Neighbours rescued me after the rains stopped more than an hour later and my ribs are still painful,” he said.

Those who were injured were taken to a nearby clinic where they were treated and discharged.

Mr Daka and Mr Sibanda said they wish they could get proper treatment by doctors.

Ms Mercy Chidziya said she and her four children aged between one year and 22 years endured the heavy rains in a roofless house because of the storm.

All household property and food was soaked in rain.

“I was hit by fragments and injured an arm. We lost all property and for now we have made a makeshift roof using plastic paper to protect ourselves from the rains but it’s not perfect. They came to assess the damage and we hope something will be done soon,” she said.

Hwange District Development Coordinator Mr Simon Muleya who chairs the district CPC was not available for comment and a member of the committee said the victims had been assisted with foodstuffs while plans are underway to mobilise tents and mobile toilets.

Hwange Local Board ward 14 councillor Albert Sibanda said a team was on the ground further assessing the extent of damage.

Hwange is prone to floods and over the years residents have been left homeless following heavy rains.–@ncubeleon

Article Source: The Chronicle

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