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Family of underground coal fire victim appeals for help

By Tinashe Mungazi 

The family of an 8-year-old Hwange girl who was severely burnt by an underground coal fire on Tuesday are appealing for assistance to settle medical bills and purchase medication. 

Alisha Sekina Mazviti had gone to a nearby bush to relieve herself close to an old mine dump when the ground collapsed underneath her feet resulting in her suffering serious burns on both legs, stomach and chest.

She was saved by her 15-year-old sister who quickly pulled her to safety.

She was rushed to Hwange Colliery Hospital before being transferred to Mpilo in Bulawayo due to the extent of the burns.

Alisha’s mother, Ethel Yenzani Ncube told CITE in a telephone interview that her daughter was seriously burnt and in constant pain.

She appealed to wellwishers to assist the family in meeting the medication which they were required to buy.

“So far she is receiving treatment and is in pain. They have since taken her blood sample to conduct tests so we awaiting the results. She was seriously burnt such that the doctors were failing to find her veins in order to deliver food and medication. They ended up locating some on her forehead on her arrival at Mpilo and today another vein was found on the neck. I have a baby so I’m not able to be inside all the time because of Covid-19 so my mother is the one who has been assisting in caring for her. We are appealing for help in meeting medical bills and to buy medicines and bandages. Those who want to assist in cash or kind can contact me or EcoCash on 078 5437185 Andy Muzviti,” said Ncube.¬†

She narrated the events of that fateful day. 

“I had gone to bath and left her in the company of her 15-year-old sister before they decided to go to a nearby bush to relieve themselves. The public toilets we use have a challenge of running water and are only cleaned once per day. Water can be unavailable for more than two weeks so due to the filthy state of the toilets people shun them and end up using the bush. I only learnt of the incident through screams from people who were calling for help. I rushed to the scene and was shocked at seen the state of the injuries as most of her body had suffered burns.”

Residents have called on Hwange Colliery Company Limited to secure old coal dumpsite arguing that they continue to cause untold suffering. The old dumpsites are usually located close to the residential areas making it easier for children to stray there. 

Reports of incidents of children and adults being burnt by underground coal fires have been on the increase. The residents also demanded authorities to ensure there was clean running water and maintenance of public toilets and bathrooms.

HCCL’s corporate affairs manager, Dr Beauty Mutombe was not picking her mobile phone while questions sent to her had not been responded to.

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