Jeffrey Muvundisi and Bernard Chiketo 19 February 2017
HARARE – After praying for much-needed rains for years, the drought-prone
Matabeleland region is counting the cost of flash floods which have left a
trail of destruction in the area after violent Cyclone Dineo storms swept
through southern Africa over the past two days.
The storms, which have killed seven people and left about 130 000 more
destitute in neighbouring Mozambique, reached Zimbabwe on Friday –
bringing with them a deluge of rainfall and devastating flash floods in
the three regions of Matabeleland, Manicaland and Masvingo.
“This weather system is expected to give rise to incessant rains resulting
in increased risk of flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure.
“Communities in Insiza District (in Matabeleland) must maintain vigilance
as the entire river systems are full and walls of some of the small dams
have failed as the district received in excess of 82mm of rainfall over 24
hours, and it continues to rain,” the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) warned
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere also said the cyclone had
left considerable damage in Matabeleland South, including flooding as a
result of dams bursting their banks.
“Insiza South districts and Filabusi Water Station have been seriously
affected by flooding after Waneka Dam failed,” Kasukuwere said on
micro-blogging site, Twitter.
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) advised that Mtshabezi Dam, one of the
city’s main water supply sources, as well as Upper Ncema, were now
“The Upper Ncema Dam has reached the 100 percent mark and is now spilling.
This morning, the dam was at 74,55 percent and was at 99 percent by late
afternoon,” BCC said yesterday.
Former Education minister David Coltart, also revealed on Twitter the
intensity of the rain which had hit Matabeleland, revealing how he was
swept by floods of almost similar proportion in 1978.
“In the source of the Matsheumhlope River where I live, Burnside, it is
raining lions and hyenas, if not cats and dogs. #Dineo.
“On Friday, February 17, 1978 I was swept off the Cecil Avenue bridge when
crossing the Matsheumhlope in my lime green VW Beetle … just saying,”
The heavy downpour prevented many pupils from going to school in Bulawayo,
while the high density suburbs of Nkulumane, Emganwini and Cowdray Park
reported major flash floods which damaged property.
In Manicaland’s Chimanimani District, torrential downpours pounded the
area on Thursday evening, causing rivers to burst their banks.
In Chipinge, refugees at the low-lying Tongogara Camp had to be evacuated
to higher ground on the same day amid fears that they would drown.
Manicaland CPU chairperson and provincial administrator Edgar Seenza, told
the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that the region remained vulnerable
although the rains had started subsiding.
In 2000, Manicaland experienced its worst floods in living memory when
Cyclone Eline left a trail of destruction, including killing more than 136
people and damaging 59 184 houses and huts.