17 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Heavy Rains Bring Chaos to Manicaland

Photo: Aliyu Adekunle S/Vanguard
File photo: The rains have caused widespread damage to roads leaving some areas impassable.

Heavy rains for the past three weeks have swelled rivers and cut-off bridges and traffic to many parts of Manicaland province, the deputy director-general of the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) said on Thursday.

Weeks of heavy rain have left large parts of the province under water with the levels of most dams and rivers appearing to have peaked, leaving the situation critical in many areas, particularly along rivers.

Sibusisiwe Ndlovu told SW Radio Africa that torrential rains have caused widespread damage to roads and bridges, leaving the province reeling. She added that most rivers in the province are overflowing, with most of the fast-rising ones affecting settlements along their banks.

'The situation we have is that we have overflowing rivers that are washing away bridges. We are yet to have widespread flooding but we are at risk of flooding. I must emphasize that we have no areas that are flooded yet,' she said.

Ndlovu warned people against making journeys across flooded rivers. A number of individuals have died in the last month trying to cross some of these flooded rivers in Manicaland province.

'It is not advisable to venture into a flooded river, it's rather you wait until the water subsides or find another route,' explained the deputy head of the CPU.

About 200 pupils from Katsenga secondary school in Makoni South have not been attending lessons after the bridge they used to walk to school was swept away last Saturday.

A villager in the area, Lloyd Madziva, said the bridge, along the Mucheke river at Chinembiri, was completely washed away, cutting off some villages and closed roads.

'There hasn't been any traffic for a week now, we have children that are not going to school and we have had no mode of transport since the bridge links the only road to Rusape, the main town in the district,' Madziva said.

Earlier this week more than 100 mourners, who included Central Vehicle Registry staff members, had to be rescued after they were marooned by floods for four days in Tanda village in Headlands.

They were air-lifted by an Airforce of Zimbabwe helicopter from the village to Mayo Business Centre, across the flooded river. They had been attending the funeral of their colleague and relative, Wendy Saumba. The stranded mourners were airlifted in groups of 15 by the Air Force.

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