Zimbabwe: Msd Warns of Thunderstorms, Flash Floods

11 December 2019

Heavy rains being experienced countrywide are expected to continue, possibly causing flash flooding while strong winds may cause damage to property, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has warned.

In a statement yesterday, MSD said thunderstorms will continue across the country.

The rains reportedly caused damage estimated at $700 000 at Chivhu Prison, 140km south of Harare.

"The following rainfall amounts were typically from yesterday's activity: 84mm at Mukandi, 61mm at Mutoko, 44mm (Kezi), 37mm (Buhera), 30mm (Rusape) and 27mm (Mount Darwin).

"In Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands, Harare Metropolitan and all Mashonaland Provinces widespread thunderstorms are expected, accompanied by intermittent rain showers.

"Heavy downpours cannot be ruled out especially in Matabeleland North, Bulawayo Metropolitan as well as Matabeleland South provinces.

"It should be slightly warmer than of late, with more sunny spells. However, light showers and outbreaks of thunder are still highly probable," read the statement.

"Where possible stay indoors and off the roads. If outdoors, seek shelter immediately, but do not seek shelter under a tree or in isolated sheds.

"Avoid crossing flooded rivers and swollen streams where the depth is unknown. In case of severe thunderstorms, it's best to be indoors."

The rains have also provided a breeding ground for mosquitoes and cases of malaria may increase.

"Insecticides spraying, applying mosquito repellents, sleeping under mosquito nets are some methods that may avert mosquito bites. For more advice, seek a qualified health professional," read the statement.

There are also reports of communities being marooned and fears of floods as water levels in rivers are swelling.

Mr Nathan Nkomo from the Department of Civil Protection, said they were making frantic efforts to ensure that the Chivhu Prison Complex was quickly repaired.

He said heavy rains that pounded Manicaland last week caused serious damage at several schools in Buhera leaving at least two minors injured. The affected schools have since appealed for assistance to repair the damage caused by the hailstorm.

Deputy provincial education director Mrs Clara Kanoerera said at least three schools had been affected.

"In Buhera, we received a report from Kandenga Primary School where a classroom block was damaged by winds. We also received reports at Changamire Primary and Secondary School. At Vhiriri Secondary School, a classroom block was damaged," she said.

She said two learners at Changamire Primary School were injured by pieces of asbestos and had been admitted to Murambinda Mission Hospital.

She appealed to well-wishers to assist in repairing the damaged classroom blocks.

Since the beginning of the rainy season, Manicaland had recorded massive damage to infrastructure at various schools and institutions.

Mutare and Mutasa districts have been the worst affected by hailstorms while Chimanimani district has recorded a high number of people struck by lightning. Government has since authorised Mutare City Council to use some of the devolution funds to repair schools.

In Midlands, a 7-year-old Silobela girl died after she was struck by lightning, which also destroyed property in the process.

The deceased Moreblessing Moyo of Ward 21B, Mtshogwe Village under Chief Malisa died on the spot after the lightning struck and torched the house.

Silobela legislator, Mthokozisi Manoki-Mpofu confirmed the death saying: "I am told they were seven in the same room. The girl lost her life and four people escaped with minor burns and are currently admitted at Silobela Hospital."

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