92 drown as floods wreak havoc

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HARARE – At least 92 people have drowned while 10 have died from lightning strikes since the rainy season began in October, a Civil Protection Unit (CPU) surveillance report has said.


This comes despite repeated warnings by the CPU and Meteorological Services Department(MSD) against driving through and attempting to cross flooded rivers.


The report indicated that 92 people drowned, 96 people were injured from lightning strikes, while 1 059 homesteads were affected by the floods, leaving 82 families homeless.


“The week under review registered an unprecedented number of reported drowning incidents, totalling nine in a single week, indicative of heightened risk-taking behaviour despite repeated alerts and warnings,” the report said.


The report noted that in Gokwe South, the Air Force of Zimbabwe rescued two groups of people after they were marooned in Nemangwe and Mudzongwe area.


In Mberengwa, a 15-year-old girl drowned on February 4 while attempting to cross a flooded Nyororo River and her body was only recovered the following day.


“In Lupane on February 2, a UD truck was swept away as the driver attempted to cross the flooded Bubi River, resulting in the drowning of two people, one of them a teacher.


“The Zimbabwe Republic Police Sub Aqua Unit was still searching for the bodies,” the report said.


In Gwanda, two artisanal miners are yet to be found after their bodies were swept away after being marooned on the Mzingwane River.


The report also noted that four fishermen were swept away on the Zhowe Dam in Matabeleland South, with three bodies still missing.


CPU deputy director Sibusisiwe Ndlovu said despite the CPU providing temporary shelter and non-food items depending on need, people should know their local flood history.


She said due to current rainfall activities, chances of flooding in low-lying areas such as Muzarabani, Gokwe and Tsholotsho were still low but can change dramatically.


“Areas in Mbire District such as Kanyemba and Chidodo and extreme east of Manicaland Province are at risk of flooding.


“The average soil moisture is saturated and if they continue to receive rainfall, these areas will be flooded,” Ndlovu said.


Meanwhile, the MSD has forecast that thunderstorm activity should persist with heavier rains along the watershed and over high ground in Manicaland.


The department also warned heavier rains are expected in areas along the northern parts of the country.

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