By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
5 February 2014
Torrential rains and widespread flooding in Masvingo province have washed away roads and bridges and sent residents scurrying to safety.
The government was forced to send in soldiers and helicopters to help people stranded by the water. Thousands of families downstream of the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam wall, that partially collapsed due to the heavy rain, were relocated to higher ground.
Some houses in the province have also been washed away, while a number of people have been injured and a huge percentage of crops in many of the districts have been damaged.
Dr Takavafira Zhou, the President of the Progressive teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), took to Facebook on Tuesday to describe the trail of destruction in his area.
‘The incessant rains that pounded Mberengwa for the past weeks have heaped burning coals upon the heads of many people and greatly affected teaching and learning. The rudimentary dust roads are fast becoming rivers while the low lying bridges have been eroded.’
He added: ‘The York-Mataga or York-Danga road has been rendered dysfunctional and so are the York-Mabika road, Dholo-Keyara-Mutsime road, Mberengwa-Mnene-Vutika-Mataga road and Buchwa-Chemimwe-Mataga road or Buchwa-Chamakudo-Msume road. Many dilapidated classrooms, teachers’ houses and toilets have collapsed while many students who used to learn under a tree in the resettlement areas have been affected.’
Thousands of other people have been displaced across the province as rivers overflowed their banks and homes built with pole and dagga have been destroyed.