HEAVY rains that have been lashing Bulawayo since the beginning of the year have not only flooded the city’s roads and low-lying areas, but disrupted some school activities as authorities remain on high alert to guarantee pupils’ safety.
The southern parts of Zimbabwe that usually suffer severe droughts are now worried that the wet spell will destroy crops as fields close to rivers are being flooded.
The flooding saw some Bulawayo schools next to the city’s rivers temporarily closing and cutting back on sports activities as a safety precaution.
Carmel Primary School at the corner of Samuel Parirenyatwa Street and First Avenue in Bulawayo, was closed last Friday and pupils were sent home after some classrooms and the school’s grounds were flooded when the Matsheumhlophe River which flows right next to the school burst its banks.
A school official who requested anonymity told Southern Eye that authorities had decided to close the school as the heavy rains were making it difficult for pupils to learn in the classrooms.
“The school authorities decided to close the school temporarily as the rains were flooding the classrooms on Thursday,” the official said.
“The students were scared to learn in those flooded classrooms. They were dismissed and resumed school yesterday.” On Sunday, part of the security wall at Eastview High School in Mahatshula North was destroyed after the river close by was flooded.
An official at the school said the rains destroyed the wall, but did not affect classrooms.
A teacher at Robert Tredgold Primary School said the school had embarked on safety measures to ensure that pupils do not drown.
“We have made it a point that whenever students are out of classrooms they have teachers watching over them and making sure that they do not go anywhere next to the stream near the school,” the teacher said.
She said the stream, which is popularly known as Mazai River, separated the school’s playgrounds from the building blocks, but there was a fence which kept pupils within the school premises.
She said the classrooms themselves had not been affected by the rains and the environment was safe for continued learning.
Lotshe and Lobengula primary schools said they had not been affected by the flooding, but pupils were always under supervision to ensure that they did not stray towards the streams flowing past their schools.
Last week on Thursday, heavy rains that fell on the outskirts of the city also resulted in four people being marooned when they tried to cross the flooded Khami Bridge along Solusi Road.
The four were travelling in a 4X4 vehicle that was washed away as the driver attempted to cross the low-lying bridge. An Old Pumula house collapsed and several others were damaged in the same suburb due to the heavy rains.