Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
MORE than 10 people were injured and rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital after their homes collapsed following Wednesday night’s hailstorm that left 50 families homeless in Emthunzini suburb on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
The hailstorm also destroyed properties in Pumula South and Nkulumane suburbs, with the roofs of some houses being blown off.
Most of the damage was in Emthunzini suburb which falls under Umguza Rural District Council.
Mpilo Central Hospital public relations officer Mr Ozias Ndlovu said 10 adults and an unspecified number of children were rushed to the hospital after being injured in the hailstorm.
“The hospital attended to 10 people who were admitted on Wednesday night with one of them being admitted today. The injured suffered small tissue injuries and were treated before being discharged. The hospital will also want to dismiss rumours that two people died at the hospital due to injuries sustained in the hailstorm,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Umguza District Administrator Mr Tapiwa Zvivovoyi said more than 50 families were left homeless.
He described the situation as a disaster.
Mr Zvivovoyi said the District’s Civil Protection Unit is carrying out an assessment in the area.
“We have a disaster in the district. More than 50 households were left homeless after their houses collapsed in Emthunzini suburb leaving several injured.
I have already dispatched a team to investigate the situation on the ground. We have also sent an ambulance to ferry some of the injured residents to hospital as we observed that not everyone had gone for treatment,” he said.
Mr Zvivovoyi said Hawkflight Construction Company, which constructed houses in Emthunzini suburb, was assisting affected families by relocating them to unoccupied houses under its housing project.
He appealed for assistance from members of the public, saying disasters of this magnitude require collective efforts.
A Chronicle news crew visited the suburb and residents said they had gone through a nightmare.
Some claimed the contractor had done a shoddy job.
Residents said the hailstorm started just after 9PM and lasted for close to an hour, destroying their houses and property.
They said the situation was worsened by the fact that the area does not have electricity.
“The winds were very strong. It started off with loud noises coming from outside, before we could even understand what was happening our door started making cracking sounds. It flung out and as we scurried for safety, the roof was blown off. At that moment we did not know what to do. The walls started shaking and bricks started falling. The house was collapsing,” said a woman who identified herself as MaTshuma.
She said she was lucky to have escaped unhurt but other people were injured.
Another resident, Mr Luckson Ncube, said he received an urgent phone call as he was working on night shift, informing him that his wife and child were injured after their house collapsed on them.
He accused Hawkflight of building sub-standards houses for them.
“When I came home, the house had collapsed. The building collapsed on my wife and minor child who were rushed to Mpilo Central hospital. I’ve lost all my property. I don’t know where to start. Will the construction company own up to this,” said Mr Ncube.
Hawkflight Enterprises director Mr Mngane Ncube said they might not have constructed some of the houses up to standard.
“We want to apologise to the affected residents. We understand it’s a very distressing situation which creates a lot of anxiety but we want to assure the clients that we are putting up measures to ensure that their houses are rehabilitated,” he said.— @nqotshili