Three people from Bulawayo’s Sizinda suburb were burnt by a yet-to-be-known chemical after a container they found at a dumpsite exploded on them.
The three, all males, are aged 9, 11 and 28 years old and are related.
Reports indicate that the three were scavenging for scrap metal at the dump site however another version says they may been playing at the dumpsite when they into contact with the mysterious container.
Two of them are currently receiving treatment at Mpilo Hospital while one was treated and discharged as he had suffered minor burns.
Mpilo Hospital Chief Medical Officer, Dr Narcisius Dzvanga said the 28-year-old suffered close to 40 percent burns while the nine-year-old who was admitted to the paediatric ward suffered 15 percent burns and is in stable condition.
“Challenges are dressings which were not available also IV lines keep coming out, he (28 year old) will benefit from a central line. The younger one in Paeds burns unit has about 15 percent but is stable, will also need support on dressings, analgesia, antibiotics,” he said.
Dr Dzvanga also revealed that security officers from the army and police attended the scene and collected samples of the chemical for further investigations.
A delegation from the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) led by the mayor, Solomon Mguni and Town Clerk Christopher Dube visited the victims on Thursday afternoon and donated some of the required medicines.
The mother of the nine-year-old, Elizabeth Mwanza, who appreciated the donation from Council said the children had gone to play when the incident happened and she only got to know when they had already been hospitalised.
“The incident happened on Monday around 9 am. The other two children belong to my two sisters,” said Mwanza.
Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni said they were touched by their plight and extended their hand to assist the family.
“We got the news that there were children who were playing at a certain dumpsite in Tshabalala and they got into contact with a container that was contaminated we haven’t got results as to what chemical or substance was in that container but the results of that contact with that contaminated container is that children suffered burns, three of them, two are admitted at this facility. As a council we took this deliberate move to come and see for ourselves, I was leading a team of Aldermen and Councillors and the management to see for ourselves and to see what we can do as council to attend to the immediate needs of the family and children,” said Mguni.
He said they are quite happy that they are receiving good care at the hospital, “and we hope that with the care that they are receiving from the health care they will recuperate, we can only wish them well.”
Mguni said the incident is a result of substance dumping in undesignated sites.
“This is a result of substance dumping, waste on undesignated sights and what we are seeing here is residents are even dumping dangerous substances which are a danger to lives of people, a danger to the environment and we have not even qualified the extent of the damage to the environment but we are working with government agencies, Environment Management Agency (EMA) included to ensure that we come to the bottom of this matter.”
He urged residents not to dump substances and they must ensure that chemical substances are disposed of in the best manner that they must be disposed of and they must involve government agencies, especially EMA.