Chiredzi — Floods that have affected Chiredzi following heavy rains on Wednesday last week claimed the lives of two schoolchildren at Muhlanguleni Primary School in Chiredzi South, who drowned in a flooded pit latrine.
Chiredzi District Civil Protection Unit committee chair and District Administrator Mr Lovemore Chisema confirmed the death of the two pupils.
This comes as Government has started mobilising support for more than 50 families in Chiredzi Town whose homes and property were flooded following the heavy rains.
In a statement last week, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo urged all civil protection organisations, working with district and provincial administrators, town clerks, chief executive and town secretaries to be on high alert for flooding.
"Currently, we are still assessing the extent of the damage of the floods in Chiredzi where we appeal to the private sector, co-operating partners and well-wishers to assist through our established systems, with food, fuel and other non-food items," he said.
Minister Moyo appealed to communities in low lying areas to constantly check on their safety, heed early warning messages from responsible authorities and, where possible, move to high ground.
Chiredzi Town continues to count the costs of the rampaging floods which damaged pumps at the sugar-growing town's main water pumping station, causing fears of a crippling water shortage over the next few days.
Minister for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira toured some of the flood-hit areas on Friday and said Government, through the CPU, was going to assist the affected families.
He castigated Chiredzi Town Council for allowing residents to build houses in wetlands and near river courses, saying the local authority would be held accountable for all the damage and losses caused by the floods.
Minister Chadzamira ordered that all the houses built in wetlands and close to river courses be relocated.
"This is just a disaster which emanated from the poor planning by the local authority," he said.
"How could they sell stands which are close to a river course? Some of the houses are just 10 to 15 metres away from the river and this always spells disaster."
Chiredzi Town Council chair Councillor Gibson Hwende said the pump house was affected by excessive water which spilled from the main supply canal.
"The town has been severely affected by recent floods which left a trail of destruction, not only were homes flooded, but the waterworks plant was also submerged and pumps damaged in the process," he said.
Preliminary indications were that the town would go for close to a week without water as engineers battled to fix the pumps and dewater the pump house.
Cllr Hwende said council had resolved to outsource water bowsers that will supply water to the town's eight wards.