THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has said it is worried at the number of suicide cases, where people, unhappy with life, throw themselves in front of on-coming trains or sat in railway lines, as economic and social hardships continue to bite.
The parastatal said from January 2007 to February 2015, a total of 147 people have committed suicide on railway lines.
“In many cases, this involves women carrying young children, which is very saddening indeed,” NRZ said in a statement.
“It is common knowledge that many people are facing hardships and social problems, but it is not an option or solution to commit suicide.
“The statistics show trends or occasions in suicidal cases increasing in January, September and December 2014, which could be attributed to the so-called ‘January disease’ and school fees dilemma among other social effects.
“Rejection, negligence and societal stigma are possible contributing factors to these prevalent suicidal cases.”
The parastatal urged people to seek counselling and advice when confronted with challenges and seemingly difficult situations instead of throwing themselves in front of oncoming trains.
NRZ said it was also concerned at the number of accidents on railway lines, days after six people escaped death when the car they were travelling in rammed into a passenger train which was travelling from Chinhoyi to Harare.
The company said it was worrying that there had been a number of accidents occurring on railway lines.
“We have observed with concern, the disturbing and increasing incidences of railroad level crossing accidents, as well as suicidal cases along the railway system countrywide in recent weeks and months,” the parastatal said.
“It is saddening to note that the accidents continue to occur at rail-road level crossings and undesignated rail level crossings, despite the fact that all drivers of both light and heavy vehicles are aware of the need to exercise extreme caution, whenever they are approaching rail-road level crossings, throughout the country.”
Thirty four people lost their lives in 2007 when a commuter omnibus rammed into a goods train along the Harare-Bindura railway line and NRZ is desperate to make sure such incidents do not occur.
“It is worrying and highly disturbing that we continue to lose precious human lives almost every month, in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe and Masvingo, among other cities and towns in the country,” the company said.
“The increase in the number of rail level crossing accidents continues to evoke sad and heart rending memories.”
According to statistics as from January 2007 to December 2013, a total of 167 people died and 581 were injured at railroad level crossings.
“We therefore, urge all drivers to put on a human face when driving on our roads, so as to protect and save precious and irreplaceable human lives,” NRZ added.