THERE are fears that villagers in Mangwe district, Plumtree, have lost their homesteads and livestock after their major dam burst its wall on Wednesday morning due to incessant rains pounding the area.
BY RICHARD MUPONDE
Reports indicate that the dam, which has served the community for more than 40 years, gave in to the pressure of runoff water as rains have been pounding the area since last Friday.
Fakanye Dam, which holds water all-year round, supported an irrigation scheme and livestock rearing for the over 200 households and its collapse has left villagers staring hunger.
A villager, Ruth Mpofu, said they feared that homesteads downstream could have been swept away, but the area was currently inaccessible.
“Although the dam was a bit far from where we live since we are upstream, we fear that it could have caused a lot of damage downstream where there are some homesteads. Our whole livelihood has been destroyed by the floods. We don’t know where to begin since this dam which was our source of livelihood is gone,” Mpofu said.
She said the rumbling waters washed away their irrigation projects and suspected that livestock which was grazing near the dam could have been washed away too.
“All we worked for has gone in a flash. We also suspect that livestock was washed away while at the grazing area. It’s only the area is still inaccessible and villagers are still in shock and afraid to investigate,” she said.
Contacted for comment, Mangwe Rural District Council chief executive officer Bongani Ngwenya confirmed the incident.
“I have heard about the disaster, but we are still to go there. We are still to get more information about the collateral damage caused,” Ngwenya said.
The disaster came in the wake of floods in Binga which killed one and left over 30 families marooned. The civil protection unit was again caught unprepared with Cabinet on Wednesday revealing that the Air Force of Zimbabwe had not yet rescued 11 people who were perched on tree tops.
Rains, which fell over the weekend into Monday, also caused severe destruction of infrastructure in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts, Manicaland province.