Conrad Mupesa Mash West Bureau
Property, inputs and grain worth thousands of dollars was lost after a hailstorm destroyed storerooms, sheds and pigsties at two farms in Mhangura, Makonde District, on Wednesday evening.
The hailstorm left a trail of destruction as it ripped off galvanised sheets off trusses, exposing 18 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, 12 tonnes of Compound D, and 20 tonnes of lime.
More than 20 tonnes of maize, wheat and other crops were also exposed to heavy rains that fell in the area and are expected to continue until Sunday.
In an interview, Victory Farm Plot 5 holder, Lieutenant Colonel Usher Cakana (Retired) said strong winds blew off the roof of his storerooms.
“The whole roof was blown away destroying some fertilisers, lime and grains,” he said. “The estimated cost of the damage of the inputs is about $300 000. I am still calculating the tonnes of grain that I lost.”
Lt Col Cakana (Rtd) appealed to fellow farmers to help him with tents to cover some of the inputs and grains that he managed to salvage.
Former Zimbabwe Farmers Union first vice president, Mr Berean Mukwende, whose farm was also affected by the hailstorm, said more than 100 of his pigs were now living in the open after several pigsties were destroyed in the hailstorm.
“My pigsties’ roofs were blown off by the heavy rains accompanied by violent winds,” he said. “My pigs are now exposed to the vagaries of weather. Some of my sheds were also affected by the hailstorm.”
Mashonaland West Civil Protection Unit chairperson, Mr Josphat Jaji, said his office was still compiling the list of areas that were affected by the hailstorm.
He urged communities to be careful during this rainy season to avoid loss of life.
“We are urging our communities to be very careful to avoid loss of life,” said Mr Jaji. “They should always follow the news and alerts from the meteorological services department.”
According to the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) the nation is expected to receive heavy storms coupled with localised heavy downpours, strong winds and lightning are expected across the country until tomorrow.
The MSD, in conjunction with the Department of Civil Protection, also put out an alert to motorists, warning them of flash flooding and discouraged them from crossing flooded rivers as they risked being swept away.
Citizens are also urged to stay indoors during thunderstorms, but if caught outdoors, they were urged not to seek shelter under isolated trees or small sheds.
If no shelter is available, MSD said, people are advised to try to crouch as low as possible, with only their feet touching the ground.