Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Families appeal for tents. . . as strong winds devastate Mwenezi West

By George Maponga

Government and its development partners have been urged to provide more than 100 tents to temporarily shelter scores of families across Mwenezi West that were left homeless by destructive winds last week.

Mrs Elizabeth Sibanda of Vutete Village in Mwenezi West stands in front of a granary in which she now sleeps after her houses were damaged by strong winds recently
Mrs Elizabeth Sibanda of Vutete Village in Mwenezi West stands in front of a granary in which she now sleeps after her houses were damaged by strong winds recently

Strong winds recently left a trail of destruction in some parts of the constituency where they ravaged roofs at homes, schools and clinics, leaving villagers counting their losses.

Besides sweeping away roofs from houses across Chitanga Communal Lands, the rampaging winds also left classroom blocks at Mangonde and Furumera primary schools without roofs, throwing into disarray the opening of the two institutions when the school calendar starts today.

When The Herald visited some of the families affected by the winds over the weekend, the situation was dire with some of the victims being forced to sleep in granaries.

Mrs Elizabeth Sibanda of Vutete Village under Chief Chitanga appealed for tents from Government and donors after her three-bedroomed house had its roof blown away.

“I just experienced strong winds approaching my homestead at high speed and in a flash the entire roof to the main bedroom house was swept away and dumped several metres away,” she said. “Both the poles and the sheets were extensively damaged and I do not even know where I will get funds to replace the damaged roof.

“Right now I am sleeping in a granary with my five grandchildren, while my daughter-in-law is also sleeping in another granary. The situation is bad and if we could get some tents maybe our plight could be eased.’’

Mrs Sarudzai Jinjinji of Zvinonyanya Village, whose huts were destroyed by the winds, also appealed for tents, saying shortage of grass for thatching was hampering efforts to rebuild their houses.

“There is virtually no grass here in Mwenezi and the thatch we had was made by grass which we got from Masvingo District, but now we cannot do anything because of lack of funds,’’ she said.

Mr Maira Dhererai, who is a member of the school development committee at Mangombe Primary School where the whole roof was damaged at one of the two school blocks, said there was urgent need for tents.

He said the school, which has an enrolment of nearly 500 students from Vutete Village and surrounding areas, will not reopen unless tents were secured.

“We are in the midst of the rainy season and when the winds destroyed the roof at one of the blocks here, hundreds of both exercise and textbooks were not spared,” said Mr Dhererai. “Teachers’ houses were also damaged, meaning there will be no accommodation for them when schools open.

“We need tents as a stop-gap measure while funds for rebuilding are being sourced.’’

Mwenezi West National Assembly Member Cde Priscilla Moyo, who toured the damaged schools and houses, said tents were urgently required.

Cde Moyo pledged to donate textbooks to Mangonde and Furumera schools.

‘’Text and exercise books at the two schools (Furumera and Mangonde) were damaged and I will be handing over books to restock their libraries,” she said. “It will be hard for pupils when schools open . . . because they cannot conduct lessons in a building without a roof, especially in the current rainy season.

“We appeal for tents, at least 100 tents will mitigate the plight of both school children and villagers.”

Mwenezi District Administrator Ms Rosemary Chingwe said the district wasat the mercy of natural disasters.

“This is the second time in less than a year that villagers here have been left homeless because of natural disasters after scores of homes were destroyed by a hailstorm in February last year,” she said.

“We have already made an appeal for assistance to the Civil Protection Unit and development partners because we need tents and food for families affected by the destructive winds.’’

Ms Chingwe proposed rollout of awareness campaigns to encourage communities in the disaster-prone district to build parapet structures that are strong and resilient. The Herald