Heavy rains wreak havoc


AN OLD PUMULA house collapsed, four were people marooned and some crops were washed away following heavy rains that lashed the city last week.


The house, situated in Pumula A where some of the oldest housing structures are found in Bulawayo, caved in after days of heavy rains forcing the occupants to seek shelter with other relatives in the city.

The houses in that area were built with mud bricks in the 1930s and neighbours said they were now living in fear that their own homes would collapse.

The owner of the house that collapsed Lucy Ncube said she was pained and did not know what to do and where to start.

“The money I earn is hardly enough to take care of my children,” she said. “I need assistance in building a new house.”

A neighbour, Cleopatra Nyoni, said she still could not believe what had happened to Ncube’s house and expressed fear that the same fate could befall other surrounding houses.

“Our houses were built in the 1930s of mud bricks and after the collapse of this one, we are now afraid that the same will happen to us,” said Nyoni.

Another neighbour Simon Kapfura said several other houses in the neighbourhood had collapsed and they were now living in fear.

“Thieves have taken advantage of the situation and steal doors and anything else they can find in these deserted houses,” said Kapfura.

Heavy rains that pounded the outskirts of the city also resulted in four people being marooned when they tried to cross the flooded Khami Bridge along Solusi Road on Thursday night.

The four were travelling in a 4×4 vehicle that was washed away as the driver attempted to cross the low lying bridge.

Bulawayo Fire Brigade senior divisional officer Linos Phiri said the incident occurred at around 9pm.

“We received an alert at around 9pm that four people were marooned at a flooded bridge along Solusi Road. We found their car stuck between some big trees in the flooded river, but no one was injured,” Phiri said.

Phiri also revealed that they had received several reports of houses being flooded in Bulawayo’s suburbs of Nketa 7, 8 and Nkulumane 14.

“We ended up breaking dura walls (security walls) at some houses in order to reduce the impact of the flooding. People should avoid building houses close to streams or low lying areas because in the event of heavy rains, these houses can easily be flooded, collapse or even be easily washed away,” he said.

Phiri advised home owners to ensure the drainage system in their yards was good. They should also leave some openings in their precast walls to ensure that water flows out easily,” he said.

A Southern Eye crew witnessed thousands of dollars’ worth of property ranging from wardrobes, beds and electrical appliances soaked in water at some houses in Nketa 7 and 8 on Friday.

Fire brigade crews were pumping water out of some houses in Nketa 7.

Residents blamed the Bulawayo City Council for failing to build proper drainage systems in the area and for allocating people stands on low lying ground.

“Water was getting in through the front door of the house and flow out through the back door. It was really a nightmare experience,” said Ntombiyolwazi Mlilo of Nketa 7.