BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA
STRONG winds have left a trail of destruction in Umzingwane and Gwanda districts and other parts of Matabeleland South province.
Affected villagers told Southern Eye that homes, schools and church buildings were destroyed by strong winds that hit the area on Sunday.
The affected areas include Swazi, Shilo in Umzingwane, Mtshabezi and Manana in Gwanda.
“When I woke up on Monday morning, I was so shocked to see my thatched summer kitchen hut without a roof. The heavy winds accompanied by rains started blowing at around 8pm and we were already in bed,” Silibaziso Moyo, a villager in Shilo
“Our Brethren in Christ Church building was also destroyed by the winds. Some community members had their houses destroyed. This has shown us that this year, there will be heavy rains and we need to prepare for that.”
Moyo said October rains were usually not accompanied by strong winds.
“This type of weather usually happens in July and August. We hope that next time, government will alert us so that we keep ourselves prepared for the eventualities,” she said.
Malaki Ndlovu, a Swazi villager, said the winds damaged homesteads.
“In our area, the weather started to change at around 5pm in the evening and there was a lot of noise. It’s been a long time since we experienced such heavy winds. Some neighbours’ homes were damaged. We are afraid that the rains this year will leave us homeless when they start,” Ndlovu said.
Another villager said Manama Hospital was also affected by the winds.
“The winds came from nowhere and suddenly blew away the roofs of one of the wards at Manama Hospital. I was just miles away from the hospital and I heard a lot of noise. We thought some patients would be injured, but luckily, we heard that everyone was safe,” a source said.
Umzingwane district development co-ordinator Peter Mahlatini said he could not immediately comment as he was out of office.
“I heard about the strong winds which caused destruction in other parts of Umzingwane, but I am currently not in the office,” Mahlatini said.