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Nehanda Guardian Provincial Newspapers

Lightning strikes homesteads, school

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FOUR homesteads were struck and burnt by lightning in Mt Darwin North after a
heavy hailstorm swept through the district over the weekend.

The roofs of three classroom blocks at Tsenga Primary School were also blown off in
the process, as well as at Murongwe rural health centre, which is towards
Mozambique.

At Murongwe Clinic, the hailstorm also damaged solar panels that used to power
refrigerators at the clean, which are used to keep medication and maintain a cold
chain system.

There were, however, no casualties but a lot of property was lost, especially among
families whose homesteads were burnt by the lightning.

They lost food, blankets, birth and academic certificates, among many other items
they are now appealing for.

Ward 5 Councillor, Rennias Beny, said pupils at Tsenga Primary School had since
stopped attending school after the entire school roof at Tsenga Primary school was
blown away, while families whose homesteads were razed down have sought shelter
at their relatives’.

Aaron Mazingaiso, Mashonaland Central Civil Protection Unit chairperson, said they
were waiting for assistance from their head office in Harare, in the form of food and
possibly clothes to distribute to the affected families.

His office relayed the families’ needs to head office on Monday and is awaiting a
response.

During early October, a hailstorm accompanied by lightning also destroyed the entire
school roof at Hermiston Primary School in Glendale, as well as nearly 254 houses
at Henderson Research Centre and clinic.

Pupils at Hermiston Primary currently have their lessons in the open and in case it
rains that means they are sent home.

Meanwhile, the Government, through the Civil Protection Unit is conducting
awareness campaigns across the province under which they are advising
communities on what to do during hailstorms and lightning.

The Government is also constructing evacuation centres in flood-prone communities
of Mashonaland Central, specifically in districts behind the Mavuradonha mountain
range in the Dande Valley.

So far one evacuation centre has been set up in Muzarabani.

The centre was established by Veritas supported by the Government of Zimbabwe.

Plans to establish more centres across the province are at an advanced stage.

The Civil Protection Unit is also encouraging families to build robust houses when
constructing their homes.

It has urged households to construct standard buildings, strong enough to withstand
vagaries of natural disasters by applying cement to the structures as compared to
the pole and mortar structures they are used to.

Mazingaiso said: “There is also need for builders to consider the soil type in areas
they would be intending to build and where special foundations are required, they
must do so.”

Mazingaiso said the CPU is ready to assist in times of natural disasters.
Tents to provide shelter, and grain for natural disaster victims were being delivered.

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