25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Red Cross Erects Temporary Shelter for Chitungwiza Blast Victims

The Red Cross has started erecting temporary structures to house 34 people whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the blast in Chitungwiza on Monday. It was not clear if it would also construct permanent structures.

Police have barred families whose relatives perished in the blast from collecting their remains from the mortuary for burial citing the on-going investigations.

Police told the families to vacate the Chitungwiza Central Hospital mortuary and wait for police invitation to collect the remains of their relatives for burial.

Harare police spokesman, Inspector Tedious Chibanda, said investigations were continuing.

"Some of the investigators are yet to submit results of their findings," he said.

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches said a cleansing ceremony would be conducted on Sunday at the site of the fateful blast in Zengeza 2.

By yesterday three of the damaged houses were razed to the ground to pave way for the erection of temporary structures.

A team from the Red Cross was at the site of the blast pitching up tents to house the affected families. An official from Red Cross confirmed the assistance

Reverend Godfrey Gaga of the ZCC pastors' provincial co-ordinator for Chitungwiza said a church ceremony would be held in Ndororo Street on Sunday at 2pm.

"We are inviting all churches to come and help us pray together for the cleansing of the street," he said.

He said Christians were free to bring any form of assistance that includes building materials, food, blankets and cash donations.

Yesterday Rev Archford Muchingami of the United Methodist Church said they were holding counselling sessions for survivors of the blast.

Affected families and their neighbours expressed mixed feelings on their desire to continue staying in the area.

Others said they had relocated their families to other suburbs in nearby Harare.

Mr Thomas Kwashira, whose home's roof was badly damaged, said his family had moved to Hatcliffe.

"They could not stay here anymore. We also wanted to save our property from the rains," he said.

Mrs Martha Matsika feared that the horror scenes would haunt her.

"I am now afraid to stay here. This place is now scary for me," she said.

But Mrs Agnes Magayo, who is one of the three people whose houses were razed to the ground during the debris removal, said she would stay at her rebuilt house.

"Death is everywhere. I am not afraid. I am actually looking for assistance to rebuild my house," she said.

Nine members of her family lived in the house. Part of the family has relocated to Westlea in Harare, and Seke.

She said some of her family members were in the house when the blast that destroyed her entire property happened.

A woman from the neighbourhood, Mrs Esther Mushanyoka, said living in the suburb was now scary.

"We have never seen such a thing," she said.

There were, however, lighter moments when the crowd gathered to witness the removal of the debris and the pitching of tents pointed to a heap of green firewood donated by Chitungwiza Municipality.

"How can they give us huni nyoro. Tinobika sei," said one of the affected members of the Dumba family.

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