GWANDA — Hundreds of houses in West Nicholson, Gwanda, were destroyed on Wednesday night by a heavy hailstorm, leaving many families stranded without shelter and food.
Report by Silas Nkala
Matabeleland South acting provincial administrator Midard Khumalo, who is head of the province’s Civil Protection Unit (CPU), confirmed the disaster in an interview yesterday.
“I confirm that there is a lot of damage that was caused by the storm in West Nicholson,” Khumalo said.
“People slept in the open yesterday (Wednesday) after their homes were damaged by the storm. We don’t have the exact details of the damage and the district Civil Protection Unit is still trying to establish the extent of the damage caused so that we can seek assistance for the affected people.”
Freda Mine was one of the worst affected with reports that 70 houses in the mining compound had their roofs blown off during the storm.
“Houses and offices here at Freda Mine were blown away by the hailstorm which started at 10pm yesterday (Wednesday),” a bus driver at Freda Mine, Mashford Bhebhe, said.
“At the moment we are trying to repair the roofs. The storm was accompanied by strong winds and hailstones which ruined the corrugated iron roofing on the houses at the mining compound.”
A workers’ committee member at the mine, Frank Boatman, said: “Between 50 and 70 houses had their roofs blown off here.
“The rain which fell from 10pm to 11pm was too much and some workers even failed to report for the night duty yesterday (Wednesday).”
Boatman said most parts of West Nicholson were affected with the community hall and buildings at the business centre having had their roofs blown off.
He said trees were uprooted and in some areas they were blocking roads.
“At the moment we are still assessing the extent of the damage at the mining compound,” Boatman said. “We are also repairing roofs. People with affected houses are being transferred to other rooms that were not affected as the repairs go on.”