Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
Government has released funds to the families of the 21 people killed in a road accident in Tsholotsho on Saturday and 48 others who were injured.
A total of 69 people who were involved in the anti-malaria spraying exercise in Matabeleland North province were involved in an accident when the driver of the truck they were travelling in failed to negotiate a curve resulting in the vehicle overturning and rolling several times. The accident occurred around 4PM at the 35KM peg along the Tsholotsho-Sipepa Road near Jimila Centre.
Fifteen people died on the spot while six others died on admission to Tsholotsho District Hospital.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said names of the deceased could not be released yesterday as some of the deceased’s relatives were yet to be contacted. In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing said the bereaved familes had been given $21 000 to assist in the burial of their loved ones.
“Subsequent to the Declaration of State of Disaster on the accident in the Jimila area of Tsholotsho involving a lorry (UD Truck) which was ferrying Ministry of Health and Child Care members of staff in which 21 of them perished, 46 were injured, two critically; assistance is being rendered to those injured and families of the bereaved.
“The deceased are getting $200 from the National Civil Protection Fund, $300 from Ministry of Health and Child Care and $500 from the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe, bring the total to $1000.”
The statement stated that the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe contributed $20 000 towards assisting the families of the deceased as well as the injured.
The injured fund will be given to those who are still admitted at hospitals.
“The Ministry will meet the costs of admissions including the medicines and surgical sundries and investigative procedures that may be required.
“This assistance is accessible through the Provincial Administrator, Matabeleland North province, Ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing, 6th Floor Mhlahlandlela Government Complex, Bulawayo,” read the statement.
The funds will be handed over by officials who will attend a memorial service to be held at Mpilo Central Hospital for the 21 who died in the accident.
The accident victims were members of the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s Malaria Control teams. They were coming from Nkayi on their way to Jimila Clinic in Tsholotsho and the accident occurred about 300 metres away from their final destination.
Some passengers were trapped under the truck for several hours as rescue teams battled to remove them.
Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director Dr Nyasha Masuka said two of the victims were critical and admitted in the Intensive Care Unit.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Child Care secretary, Dr Gerald Gwinji said the ministry was doing all within its powers to assist the bereaved families and the injured.
“This was a very unfortunate incident and the ministry lost 21 members. We are dealing with the accident by assisting in the arrangements of burials for the deceased as well as attending to the injured that are in hospitals. We have been robbed of colleagues and losing 21 staff members all at once is never an easy situation,” he said.