THE poor state of the country’s road infrastructure was exposed over the weekend as hundreds of motorists had to endure long hours of waiting at submerged low-lying bridges in Gwanda district as heavy rains pounded the drought-Matebeleland South.
While most people have welcomed the rains that have been falling incessantly over the past week, scores had their journeys disrupted after being stranded at flooded bridges as rivers burst their banks for the first time in years.
In Gwanda town, people from Makwe, Sigodo, Blanket and Vumbachikwe Mine were cut off from the urban centre as Mtshabezi River was flooded.
Some daring ones risked by using a dilapidated footbridge that was itself being threatened by the flooded river.
“It is good that the rains are falling, but authorities have to improve our infrastructure so that people are not inconvenienced.
“What happens if it continues raining for the whole week,” asked Melusi Moyo of Gwakwe.
In Ntepe there was heavy flooding at Elliot Bridge as Tuli River burst its banks leaving hundreds of Gwanda South-bound travellers stranded.
Others resorted to using longer routes to get to their destinations.
“The last time l saw this bridge like this was during Cyclone Eline over a decade ago,” Moketsi Moyo, a villager from Ntepe, said.
“They should build a bigger bridge because now people are forced to go via Manama where there is a higher bridge.”
The rains have, however, brought hope to thousands of people in the province who have faced persistent droughts in the past five years.
“Hopefully this time around we will be able to get something from our fields and escape the hunger,” Moyo said.
Thousands of villagers in the province are in need of urgent food aid after harvesting nothing for the past few seasons due to drought.