Traders count their losses as hailstorm pummels Bulawayo marketplace

HARARE – Bulawayo market place was Tuesday severely hit by a hailstorm and blustery winds which forced suspension of the market’s activity in the city’s commercial engine.

The business community which provides the city with fruits and vegetables could not function as some of the perishables were destroyed in a stampede when traders were trying to transfer them to a safer place.

Weak infrastructure was uprooted by the wind wreaking havoc across the city and hampering most business activities in the southern metropolis.

“The wind was terrifying; it’s a good thing we did not get any casualties around our working place but we suffered great loss and even after the rains had stopped, customers did not show up,” said Janet Moyo, who rents a selling bay at the market.

Chinemo, another vendor, said they were never going to recover from their financial losses since customers did not return after the rains had stopped.

“Vegetables are perishables and cannot be sold on the next day. The little stock that we had was not bought.

“I couldn’t even recover the money that I had spent to hoard my products.”

The downpour did not only affect the market but also other flea markets located in open spaces in the Bulawayo CBD.

A sales lady who identified herself as Amanda Ncube from the flea market between 7th avenue and Herbert Chitepo confirmed that it was the worst day for sales.

“We even failed to protect our stock because we were trying to stop these shades from being blown away by the wind and damaging peoples’ cars and we can’t even sell some of the clothes since they were soaked in dirty water,” she said.

The Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe said their station at Goetz Observatory measured 17.6 mm for Tuesday’s rains.

“We are expecting some isolated thunderstorms tomorrow (Thursday).There may be more on Friday afternoon. Not all storms will have hail.”

Early this year, Pumula East, North and South suburbs were hit by flash floods that left some houses submerged in water following heavy rains that pounded the city.

Some of the houses had their roofs blown off, while some walls were destroyed by the strong winds.

In 2017, 10 people were seriously injured in Emthuzini Hope Flight after a violent hailstorm hit the area.

Government, through the National Development Strategy 1: 2021-2025, said they are committed to prioritizing increased investment in Disaster Risk Management Systems, including early warning systems and contingency planning.

The national and regional early warning systems are monitoring and advising all end users to be active and ensure readiness for all hazards associated with the rainy season.

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