Thandeka Moyo Chronicle Reporter
AT LAST the heavens opened up yesterday.
Rains fell in some parts of Matabeleland, giving relief to many who had suffered under the heatwave over the last few weeks. The rains also offered hope to lucky farmers whose crops had not permanently wilted.
Bulawayo, Tsholotsho and Plumtree are some of the areas that were blessed with the rains yesterday.
People, mostly church goers were caught unawares and some were soaked in the afternoon downpour.
The showers come at a time when Acting President Phekezela Mphoko is leading the nation in prayers for rain in response to threats of a drought.
Speaking at Bellevue Seventh-Day Adventist Church service on Saturday, Cde Mphoko said: “We want all people in this nation to pray to God that we receive adequate rainfall in time because the situation isn’t good”.
Yesterday, the second day of the weeklong prayers for rain, he was at the Family of God in Bulawayo where he reiterated the government appeal.
Ecstatic residents in Bulawayo could not hold back their joy as it started pouring, reducing temperatures that were ranging between 35 and 40 Degrees Celsius prior to yesterday.
Wisdom Moyo of Lobengula West said he was relieved that the city could escape water rationing.
“It’s good that it’s raining especially in Matabeleland, a dry and drought-prone region. We expect God to keep showering us with the rain so the dams fill up to alleviate the effects of the drought,” said Moyo.
“If dams fill up, irrigation schemes in our rural homes will provide the much needed food both for humans and livestock.”
In a statement yesterday, the Meteorological Services Department’s Joshua M Nkomo International Airport Aviation Weather Service said isolated afternoon and evening thunderstorms with very light rains, are expected especially over Matabeleland region.
“The countrywide spell of isolated to scattered thunderstorm activity experienced today was due to the cloud bands that form when a trough of low pressure occurs in the upper levels of the atmosphere drifting from the west of Zimbabwe to the east,” said the statement. “The sunny and hot to very hot conditions are expected in the mornings becoming partly cloudy to cloudy with a chance of isolated afternoon/evening thunderstorms with very light rains, especially over Matabeleland region. These conditions should persist for most of the week, though no significant falls are expected over Bulawayo.”
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister responsible for crop production and irrigation development Davis Marapira was quoted in the weekend Press saying the maize crop is a write-off already owing to the prolonged dry spell. He said some farmers might salvage something if it rains substantially in the next three weeks.