SYDNEY SAIZE IN MUTARE
Mutare residents and businesses have been left counting losses following a heavy storm that hit the eastern border city at the weekend as Manicaland Province received its first rains this year.
Though the value of the housing and business properties destroyed is yet to be confirmed, it is estimated to be thousands of dollars. Roofs were swept off in the storm leaving several families in the open and business people stranded.
Structures such as bridges were left exposed and some roads washed out.
Trees were uprooted, billboards and signposts mangled in heaps of metal as the marauding winds and hailstorm pounded for hours.
Vaida Mutigwe, a resident and victim of the storm, told Business Times she is now destitute.
“I have lost all I had. My house was destroyed, the roof was swept away by the winds and the rains left all my property in a sorry state,” Mutigwe said.
The 65-year old and Chikanga resident in Mutare said she was staying in the open with her children.
“We are in the open and have approached the office of the District Administrator for assistance,” Mutigwe said.
Local businessman Kelvin Maphosa whose shop roof was destroyed in the storm bemoaned the cost of replacing it given the depressed business.
“It will be difficult for me to restore the damaged property. Business is low these days and it will take time for me to raise the money for that,” said Maphosa.
Motorist Praisemore Mujaya complained of some of the roads which have now become impassable as a result.
“It is now difficult to travel around as the roads are badly damaged. The potholes have re-emerged and in detour roads it is now even worse as one needs to navigate with caution,” Mujaya said.
Mujaya blamed the city council for not doing its work of creating waterways and unblocking water drainage systems around town.
“What we see is most drainage waterways are blocked and as a result water ends up on the tarmac and roads get washed away. Council should work out a plan and the time is now as the rain season is upon us,” Mujaya said.
In a statement, the Mutare City council this week said it was undertaking a process of unblocking all blocked water drainage systems in and around the city, in addition to creating others as a way of reducing the strain on the roads, businesses, and residential areas, where runoff water was finding its way.
The Meteorological Services Department this week warned that the country would experience heavy rains and storms countrywide urging citizens to take caution and avoid taking risks such as crossing flooded rivers and trying to drive through overflowing bridges as they risk being swept away.