Veld fire headache for govt

veld fire

GOVERNMENT has expressed concern over rising cases of veld fires after 10 people perished while trying to extinguish a veld fire at Rodrose Farm in Esigodini, Matabeleland South province on Monday.

“It has been noted with dismay, the prevalence of veld fires across the country. The Civil Protection Unit system has been activated to assist the bereaved families,” Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said during a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday.

All the victims were male adults and their bodies were taken to United Bulawayo Hospitals for post-mortem.

Witnesses said the 10 were trapped by the veld fire, which started in the morning and was fuelled by strong winds. Some of the deceased were burnt beyond recognition.

In a statement yesterday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the 10 were Kessary Sibanda, a male adult aged 53 of Marula, Figtree; Ian Mudimba, a male adult aged (38), Simon Mdlongwa, a male adult aged 39; Nelisingwane Dlamini, a male adult aged 47 of Grain Marketing Board, Esigodini; Luzibo Tshuma, a male adult of Chiziya Malundu village, Binga; Oliver Mudimba, a male adult aged 39, Bafana Moyo, a male adult aged 53 of Dimbamiwa village, Nkayi; England Moyo, a male adult aged 20 of Nketa 8, Bulawayo; Thabani Mpofu, a male adult aged 46 of Gwelutshena village, Nkayi; and Menelisi Ngwenya, a male adult aged 20 of Mandangema village, Nkayi.

“The police are concerned about incidents of veld fires in all parts of the country where lives have been lost and property destroyed in situations which clearly show acts of recklessness, negligence, and in some cases criminal activities. Those found to be igniting veld fires will be arrested without fear or favour,” Nyathi said.

Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said the 2022 National Population and Housing Census showed that maternal mortality rate was high in rural areas where public health centres face a basket of challenges including shortage of health workers.

“The mortality ratio was higher in rural areas at 402 per 100 000 live births, compared to 298 per 100 000 live births in urban areas,” Mutsvangwa said.

The major causes of maternal mortality include failure to access ante-natal services, a type of preventive health care whereby regular check-ups are provided to prevent potential health emergencies throughout the course of pregnancy.


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