Storms wreak havoc countrywide 

Source: Storms wreak havoc countrywide -Newsday Zimbabwe

HEAVY storms swept across most parts of the country on Monday leaving a trail of destruction with the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) warning of more thunderstorms particularly in eastern and southern Zimbabwe.

Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Misheck Mugadza said they had activated the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) to save lives.

“We are aware that there are areas that have been affected by the heavy rains. We have activated our civil protection unit even in areas which have not been affected,” Mugadza said.

Former Zanu PF Chipinge South legislator Enock Porusingazi said the torrential rains destroyed electricity poles leaving several areas in the dark.

Manicaland is still being haunted by Cyclone Idai which hit the province in 2019, leaving hundreds of people dead.

Masvingo district CPU chairperson, Roy Hove, said they were still assessing the extensive damage.

“There was extensive damage in Chiredzi, Masvingo town.  We will give full details after our assessment,” Hove said.

Chiredzi was reportedly the most affected in Masvingo province where roads were destroyed and crops were swept away by the heavy rains.

St Francis Xavier primary and secondary schools in Dete, Matabeleland North province, were also seriously damaged by a heavy storm over the weekend.

In the Midlands, strong winds accompanied by heavy rains blew off roofs at Hwahwa Prison in Gweru, forcing inmates to overcrowd cells.

Hwahwa Medium Prison officer-in-charge, Superintendent Tinei Makeredza, said authorities had to accommodate about 100 inmates cells which still had roofs.

“We experienced strong winds at around 2pm and roofs of nine cells were blown away. We had to move about 100 inmates to other cells, our carrying capacity is 1 200 but already we have 1 460 prisoners,” Makeredza said as the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services deputy officer commanding Midlands province, Assistant Commissioner Clemence Chigogo appealed to the corporate world for assistance.

In a statement yesterday, MSD forecasted heavy rains, thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and strong winds particularly in southern and eastern Zimbabwe.

“Thunder and lightning accompanied by hailstones, and strong damaging winds are anticipated across the whole country; with heavy falls over 50mm or more in 24 hours anticipated in areas to the southern and eastern parts of the country,” MSD said.

It advised citizens’ to take necessary precautions.

“What to do: Monitor weather updates, avoid open fields, hilltops, tall trees and bodies of water; remain indoors during thunderstorms. Crop protection: Consider implementing measures such as crop insurance to mitigate potential losses,” MSD said.

“The cloud system currently hovering over the country is expected to continue moving eastwards, bringing in its wake significant precipitation and potentially hazardous weather conditions.”

In October, four children from the same family died after being struck by lightning as heavy rains pounded most parts of Zimbabwe.