18 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Chitungwiza Blast - Families Appeal for Shelter

The families whose four houses were destroyed during the explosion that killed six people in Chitungwiza last month are appealing to the authorities to help them rebuild their homes. Three of the damaged houses were razed to pave way for the erection of temporary structures by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.

A recent visit by The Herald revealed that the people were still living in tents and no permanent structures have been built as the families do not have money.

Chitungwiza Municipality town clerk Mr George Makunde said: "We are working out something to assist these families."

But he refused to divulge any other information concerning the form of assistance they were going to give to the families.

One of the victims, Mrs Agnes Magaya, said the situation had become dire for them as they were still waiting for assistance.

"The situation is getting out of hand since we have one toilet which is being used by 15 people living in these four tents," she said.

"All we are asking for is for someone to help us rebuild our houses."

Mrs Magaya said they were finding it difficult to cook the "little food" they had because they do not have electricity.

She said they recently decided to accommodate their children at some of their neighbours" houses.

"It"s rainy season and these tents cannot shield some of the rain," said Mrs Magaya. "The rain water floods inside the tents, making it difficult for us to sleep since the blankets and other goods would be wet."

Ms Lagama Zalengela whose mother's house was also razed said she had decided to built a slab for the tent to avoid water flooding inside.

"My mother is old and now she is finding it difficult to sleep in the tent as a result of the rains," she said.

Ms Zalengela said she recently approached officials at the Chitungwiza Municipality who informed her that they were still waiting for response from the authorities and stakeholders they had approached to offer help.

Preliminary investigations into the blast that killed six people in Chitungwiza and destroyed houses pointed to the use of explosives.

Speculation was rife that it could have been an anti-tank landmine.

Five people, including a traditional healer, died in the blast in Zengeza 2, with their bodies being burnt while their limbs were strewn all over the place covering a distance of up to 60 metres.

While the bodies seemed to have been burnt, there was no fire from the blast.

Among the five was a commuter omnibus operator, Clever Kamunzeya, who was consulting the traditional healer Speakmore Mandere who came from Chiweshe.

A seven-month-old baby Kelly Chimina, who was sleeping in one of the rooms at the house, also died in the blast.

Her mother was a tenant at the property.

The sixth victim, Mr Tembo Magaya (67), died a few days later as a result of injuries sustained in the blast.

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