SW Radio Africa (London)

22 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Villagers Airlifted Out of Flood Zones

Ongoing heavy rainfall continues to cause chaos across the country, leading to the closure of the Beitbridge border over the weekend and the rescue by helicopter of stranded villagers.

A helicopter from the Air Force was dispatched on Monday to rescue villagers in the Binga district, where flooding has washed away several homes.

SW Radio Africa's correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported on Tuesday that 16 people from the Kalungwizi area were rescued on Monday after they were caught out by flash floods. He said most villagers had evacuated the area but some had stayed to try and tend their crops.

"There are reports yet of deaths. 16 people were airlifted out of the area. Local councillors are now trying to put together a welfare bundle to help the villagers," Saungweme reported.

Flooding has also brought misery to the Beitbridge district, where over the weekend at least 42 more people were stranded at Chituripasi Village. An Air Force helicopter was sent to rescue the villagers, who are now living in tents provided by the Beitbridge Civil Protection Unit (CPU).

Three children have also died as a result of the floods. Two of the deceased children, aged five and nine, died at Mawale Village, some 20km east of Beitbridge town. They were trapped when the hut they were in collapsed in the rain. A third child aged four reportedly died in similar circumstances at Tshituripasi, according to the CPU.

The CPU has also said that 19 adults and 24 children have sought refuge at Tshituripasi Police Post after their 14 homes were destroyed by the rains.

Meanwhile the Beitbridge border was temporarily closed on Sunday night because of flood water. It was only reopened on Monday.

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