Hailstorms leaves trail of destruction
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