Hailstorm destroys 30 houses in Hwange

A hailstorm that hit some parts of Hwange district on Monday left a trail of destruction as houses in Ngumija suburb were destroyed leaving families wet, homeless and nursing injuries.

Over 30 houses had their roofs blown off while two of them were reduced to a rumble.

Six people were injured and taken to St Patrick’s Hospital for treatment following strong winds that swept through the coal mining town.

The storm also affected two houses under Hwange Colliery Company Limited Concession area under Ward 14 but no injuries were reported.

Affected families who spoke to CITE said they were lucky to be alive after strong winds tore down their houses.

“We have God to thank for sparing our lives as the winds blew away roofs and fell trees on top of some of the houses. The wind was very strong and given that these houses are old and not properly reinforced because of the nature of materials used it was easier for the roofs to be blown away. Most people lost property worth hundreds of dollars, especially electrical appliances, while some are now homeless,” said one resident who refused to be named.

Ward councilor Vincent Sibanda confirmed the development but said he was still to get the exact number of displaced households.

“Yes, I can confirm that some houses in my ward were destroyed by rain and strong winds during the torrential rains that fell on Monday. I’m still trying to get the exact details but over 30 houses had their roofs blown off and two of them were totally destroyed,” said Cllr Sibanda.

It is understood that the most affected houses were prefabricated housing units owned by National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).

Residents said they had tried in vain to engage NRZ over maintenance of the prefabricated houses but the parastatal showed no interest.

“The prefabricated housing units collapsed due to the rains but the main issue is these units are old and dilapidated. Last year but one and last year we tried to engage the NRZ to conduct maintenance on the properties but they would have none of it, all they wanted was their rentals and no concern was given to the quality of the lodgings. Yesterday a series of them caved in due to the rains, a few other units (not in the prefab section that collapsed) also had their roofs blown away. I am told an individual was hurt by one of the roof tops, it cut his head,” said Tinashe Matika.

The District Civil Protection Unit has since visited the areas to assess the damage while alternative accommodation is being sourced for the most affected.

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