Thelma Wandayi/ Clive Makumbe
GWERU: Following the recent incessant rains, Gweru among other parts of the country experienced flooding scenarios that saw many being evacuated and many other fetching alternative accommodation as water got into their homes.
The rains did not spare infrastructure as well.
Calls have been made targeted to responsible authorities to attend to damaged infrastructure and observation shows that they seem ‘overwhelmed’ while visible renovations of affected places are on a ‘snail pace.’
Amid the physical damage, and poor town planning indicators, local communities and well-wishers had to bear the burden of making sure that destroyed infrastructure in their communities is renovated.
The most affected suburbs are Northlea/Nashville, Clifton Park, Mkoba 4 and Mkoba 13 while Woodlands suburb also experienced a road damage as the Lower Gweru highway that leads to their suburb got highly damaged.
“We have no option. It’s now a while since this disaster befell us but we have seen no action from either our local authority or central government in helping amend root of the problem.
“Here in Nashville/ Northlea, not only homes were flooded but roads were not trafficable as well. Now what we are doing is try clear the trenches so that water finds free flow,” said one Northlea resident Ignatiel Mangwayana.
“River Valley Properties joined us in renovating the Gweru-Lower highway which we are told is central government’s task to be doing such work. It is sad how we as residents have been forced as our comfort zones simply because responsible authorities have neglected us. This should be corrected,” said a Woodlands resident, Tendero Nyarugwe.
In a similar incident, residents also teamed up to clear the dirt that had been left by vendors evacuated from the Mtapa market site that had supposedly caused a diarrhea outbreak in Ward 10.
The dirt had become a health hazard as it was a stone throw away from homes.
“We just had to do what we can. Council had told us there is no vehicle to be removing this dirt and we took it upon ourselves. We simply had to because many people were now showing diarrhea symptoms and we could not fold our hands. What is also shocking is that men barely contributing to such developments,” said a resident, Viola Tandani.
Gweru Mayor Josiah Makombe however said the floods caught the City unaware and promised that council will help in best ways possible.
“The floods came unexpected and the city was not prepared unfortunately our drains were not entirely maintained, but we are looking to repair the most affected areas through our assessments,” Makombe said.
He however expressed that anticipated renovations will need a long-term solution which will in turn be costly considering the fact that council coffers are currently dry.
“We must also not forget the fact this challenge will need a long-term plan which makes it automatically costly and with our dry coffers, it might be difficult for us to move with the anticipated pace. As council we however thank well-wishers and volunteers who are working towards reviving damaged infrastructure as it is indeed a humane act,” Makombe added.
According to the Civil Protection Unit, 139 families whose homes were damaged by the flash floods were evacuated and have been living in the camps provided for them.
The affected families have since been taken back home following Civil Protection Unit’s assessment that there is no more flooding danger amid announcement of weekend floods by the metrological department.
“We have since reinstated the victims to their homes after assessing and observing that there is no more flooding danger ahead,” a representative of the Midlands Civil Protection Unit in charge of the flooding evacuations, Tarisai Mudadigwa told CommuTalk.