Flash floods leave trail of destruction

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Blessings Mashaya 



FLASH floods that occurred in recent days have left a trail of destruction across the country, leaving roads and bridges damaged, trees uprooted and some homes waterlogged.

Most areas in Masvingo, the Midlands, Harare and Manicaland provinces have been receiving incessant rains in recent days.

Department of Civil Protection (DCP) director Nathan Nkomo told the Daily News yesterday that floods have destroyed roads and bridges across the country.

“We have reports of flash flooding across the country. In Midlands province, mainly in Gokwe South, roads and bridges were washed away by floods. We also received reports from some provinces like Masvingo.

“I just received a report from the Transport permanent secretary (Thedius Chinyanga), who said all three road authorities in the country are being gradually overwhelmed by the situation because of heavy rains,” Nkomo said.

Earlier this week, six people were swept away when their bakkie tried to cross a flooded river in Gweru.

In Chiredzi, the DCP had to call for assistance from the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) to help airlift dozens of people who had been marooned while trying to cross Mutirikwi River.

Four villagers are believed to have drowned after they were swept away by the current before the AFZ chopper could lift them to safety.

In Harare, a number of homes were left waterlogged while mostly old jacaranda trees in the Avenues area were uprooted.

Harare City Council acting spokesperson Innocent Ruwende said most of the houses which were affected by the floods were built on wetlands.

“Most of the areas are wetlands which are easily flooded; most of these areas are illegal settlements. It is unfortunate that the people, who settled illegally, found themselves in this predicament after their money was swindled by land barons.

“Some are genuine land owners, Budiriro and Kuwadzana’s paddock area were the most affected. These are natural disasters and this has nothing to do with drainage,” Ruwende said.

This comes as the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has warned that heavy rains were likely to continue.

“Flooded rivers remain a potential hazard; even if it has not rained heavily in the area, heavy rains may have occurred upstream.

“Heavy downpours may reduce visibility and flood dangers become difficult to perceive during heavy rains.

“Lightning remains a potential threat to human life,” the MSD said.

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