Hail­storms leaves trail of de­struc­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Sukul­wenkosi-Dube-Matutu Plumtree Cor­re­spon­dent

FOUR schools and sev­eral home­steads in Mangwe district were se­verely dam­aged by hail­storms which pounded the area re­cently.

Tjingaba­bili Pri­mary School in Tshit­shi Ward was the worst af­fected as all class­rooms and teach­ers’ cot­tages were dam­aged by hail­stones.

Other af­fected schools are Ng­wanyana Pri­mary in Ng­wanyana Ward and Bulu Pri­mary and Se­condary Schools in Mpho­engs Ward.

The hail­storm first struck on Fri­day night and hit the same area on Sun­day af­ter­noon caus­ing se­vere de­struc­tion.

The Chron­i­cle ob­served that the as­bestos roof­ing and win­dows to all class­rooms and cot­tages were smashed by hail stones at Tjingaba­bili Pri­mary School.

The school’s deputy head­mas­ter, Mr Chamunwora Midzi said the school needed about $20 000 for re­pairs.

‘’The school was dam­aged by a hail­storm on Fri­day night. The hail­stones pierced the roof­ing on all of our 11 class­rooms, the ad­min­is­tra­tion block and six cot­tages. The teach­ers have since va­cated their cot­tages and they are sleep­ing in two class­rooms one for men and the other for ladies.

“Pupils are learn­ing from those dam­aged class­rooms with the hope that their lessons won’t be dis­turbed by rains. We are faced with a great chal­lenge and we don’t know how we will re­pair the school as most win­dows and all roofs need to be re­placed,’’ he said.

Mr Chamunwora said the hail­storm started around 9PM and lasted for an hour. He said teach­ers had to hide be­neath their beds to pro­tect them­selves.

He said com­put­ers, a printer, roof­ing, win­dow panes, text books, ex­er­cise books and elec­tric gad­gets were dam­aged by the rain.

Roof­ing on some build­ings was partly dam­aged at Ng­wanyana Pri­mary, Bulu Pri­mary and Bulu Se­condary Schools.

Vil­lagers in Tshit­shi Ward said the storm left a trail of de­struc­tion on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Ms Si­fiso Nkomo said she was shocked to find four of her neigh­bour’s houses com­pletely de­stroyed by the hail­storm.

She said her neigh­bours had trav­elled leav­ing her to keep an eye on their homestead. Ms Nkomo said all the prop­erty and food which were in the homestead were de­stroyed.

Mrs Nqumile Mpala (60) said the roof of her three roomed house was blown off. She said food that she had stored in her kitchen had also been de­stroyed by rains. “The winds were harsh and the hail­storm was fierce. It’s bet­ter that we ex­pe­ri­enced this or­deal at day­time oth­er­wise we could have died in­side our homes,” she said.

e coun­cil­lor of Ng­wanyana Ward, Mr Phakamisa Sibanda said about 90 home­steads had been af­fected in his area. He said small live­stock had also per­ished in the hail­storm but vil­lage heads were still in the process of col­lat­ing fig­ures.

The coun­cil­lor of Tshit­shi Ward, Mrs Sin­disiwe Nleya said the com­mu­nity lead­ers in her area were still col­lect­ing de­tails on the num­ber of af­fected home­steads.

Chief Tshit­shi de­scribed the in­ci­dent as a great tragedy. He called on well wish­ers to as­sist the af­fected house­holds and in­sti­tu­tions.

“This in­ci­dent is a great tragedy for the whole com­mu­nity. Peo­ple lost their home­steads, live­stock and food. We ap­peal to well wish­ers to as­sist,” he said.

The Mangwe Civil Pro­tec­tion Unit Com­mit­tee vis­ited the area on Mon­day to as­sess the dam­age.

The cat­a­strophic ef­fects of the La Nina weather phe­nom­e­non — char­ac­terised by heavy rains of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by strong winds and hail — have al­ready been felt in some parts of Zim­babwe and South Africa with pre­dic­tions of more in­clement weather con­di­tions. While La Nina is of­ten re­ferred to as the pos­i­tive side of El Nino (as­so­ci­ated with dry arid weather and drought), it comes with vi­o­lent storms which de­stroy prop­erty and crops.

Last week heavy rains wreaked havoc in parts of Bulil­ima and Mangwe dis­tricts with vil­lagers los­ing homes to strong winds, hail­storms and heavy down­pours.

About 50 home­steads were de­stroyed by a hail­storm which hit sev­eral vil­lages in Bulil­ima District and many fam­i­lies are now in need of tem­po­rary shel­ter and food. — @DubeMatutu

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