Monday, 25 January 2021

ROUGH TIMES FOR FLOOD VICTIMS

 

FOR 28-year-old Ms Tecla Majangara, life has never been so hard for her and her five children following the flooding of her two-roomed house at Plot 35 in Montrose suburb in Gweru.

Ms Majangara who is pregnant, is one of the 31 adults and 11 children who were evacuated from their homes that were flooded following flash floods that hit Gweru as a result of heavy rains that pounded the city and surrounding areas for days.

They are now staying at Mtapa Hall, one of the several temporary shelters established by Gweru City Council to accommodate flood victims.

Residents of Montrose, Woodlands, Ascot, Mambo, Mkoba 4, Riverside, Nashville and Mtapa suburbs fought a losing battle trying to scoop water from their houses.

These suburbs are all in low-lying areas. The affected residents lost property including food and some medicines following the flooding of their houses.

Council, working in partnership with the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), last week activated processes to mitigate the effects of flooding of houses.

The residents who were moved to temporary shelters have been advised to stay for few more days as authorities assess and monitor developments.

The council apart from Mtapa Hall, has established temporary shelters in Mkoba, Ascot, Senga and Ivene suburbs but many of these shelters are yet to accommodate residents.

Ms Majangara said she will never forget Monday, January 18 because that is the day she lost everything to the floods.

She said on the fateful day, it rained for six hours non-stop until she was awakened by cries and shouts for help from her children.

Ms Majangara, an artisanal miner, said as she got off her bed, she found herself standing knee deep in water as her room had been flooded.

She said she quickly rushed to check on her five children and what worsened her situation is that her house is close to Gweru River which was flooded on the day.

“I managed to rescue my children from the flooded house and took them to a safe area but I could not salvage anything. Right now, all we have are clothes we received from well-wishers at this Mtapa Hall shelter,” said Ms Majangara.

She said two of her children have since been taken to her mother in Gokwe by her sister.

“I called my sister who came and took Farai and John to Gokwe where my mother is. I was left with these three children. Our Councillor Godfrey Giwa (Ward 6) then came with other people including council employees and we were ferried to this shelter home that same day,” she said.

Ms Majangara said even if she was asked to go back, she had no home to look forward to saying their houses were old and the situation has been worsened by the floods.

“My husband, an artisanal miner was not home, he was out looking for where he could mine. He came back yesterday with nothing saying they are failing to work because the shafts are flooded,” she said. Another victim of the floods, Mrs Christine Khumalo (52) a vendor from Claymont Park said the water was at window level.

 

She said she lost important documents for her children, kitchen utensils and fruit and vegetables she had bought for resale.

The mother of eight, said she brought four children to the shelter while the other four have been given shelter by her friends and relatives.

“I am a widow and was surviving on vending. I would sell vegetables and fruits for survival and my stuff together with property, food, clothes and documents which included birth certificates and passports were all lost to the floods,” said Mrs Khumalo.

She said there were women with babies in the shelter who need porridge, pampers and clothes.

“The situation is sad here. Yes, we are getting food from well-wishers and some have donated clothes but the children as young as three months need extra care in diet and I am pleading with well-wishers to think about children,” said Mrs Khumalo.

Clr Giwa said the situation was dire as the families need a lot of assistance in terms of food, clothing and bedding.  He said Mtapa Hall was very cold and blankets are needed.

“Yes, we have well-wishers coming in to assist with food and clothing but it is not enough, most of these people lost everything,” said Clr Giwa.

Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe said council was putting people’s lives first ahead of other obligations. He said many of those affected by floods lost everything and need a fresh start.

“We are also expecting more rains from Cyclone Eloise meaning more could be affected. It has been raining in Gweru although not as much as it had been doing the past weeks. We will keep on monitoring the situation,” he said. Herald

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