Landslide, impassable bridges as heavy rains pound Matabeleland South

Flooding on the Causeway Bridge in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, has cut off the connection between Ntepe and Ntalale villages for the past two weeks. — (Picture by Eliah Saushoma)

Flooding on the Causeway Bridge in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, has cut off the connection between Ntepe and Ntalale villages for the past two weeks. — (Picture by Eliah Saushoma)

Chronicle Reporters
FLOODS continue to wreak havoc in Matabeleland region and the Midlands Province where more families are being rendered homeless, with helicopters responding swiftly to rescue the marooned.

In a rare occurrence caused by the heavy rains, a mountain was disintegrating in Matabeleland South.

There were also reports of people who survived the floods by spending hours in trees until the waters receded.

In Matabeleland South, 17 people who were stranded in West Nicholson on Tuesday and Wednesday when Mbembesi and Umzingwane rivers burst their banks were rescued by a helicopter dispatched from Bulawayo.

Some of the villagers endured Tuesday night marooned, until help came the following day.

Gwanda Acting District Administrator and chairperson of the local Civil Protection Unit (CPU), Mr Judge Dube, also confirmed the rescue of the people yesterday and said the situation has returned to normal in West Nicholson.

When Mbembesi River burst its banks, a portion of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway was flooded near West Nicholson and vehicles travelling between Zimbabwe and South Africa were blocked for about 12 hours.

Tuli River and its tributaries have cut off access from Ntalale and other areas in Gwanda North and South to the other side enroute to Gwanda town for the past two weeks.

In Gokwe, the Midlands Minister for Provincial Affairs, Cde Jason Machaya, said five people, three women and two men, from Bariwa Village under Chief Njelele were on Wednesday stranded near Bariwa River while they were working in their fields. He said the CPU responded swiftly by sending a helicopter from Thornhill Airbase in Gweru.

Cde Machaya said the five were rescued after spending hours hanging on tree tops.

“I am informed that five people have been marooned in Bariwa village after a heavy storm that left the river flooded. We have sent a helicopter to rescue them,” he said.

In Matabeleland South, there was a rare occurrence as people in Bambanani village in Filabusi panicked on Tuesday night when a landslide collapsed a mountain in the area. The incident, which occurred at 11PM at Benera Mountain sent mud, large rocks and trees rolling down the approximately 100m high mountain.

The incident triggered panic among the villagers who said they heard a deafening noise that sounded like exploding grenades.

“The noise was scary and strange. Everyone was frightened because it was our first time to hear such a noise. Nobody could even guess what was happening. The noise lasted about 20 minutes and we went to investigate when it was quiet.

“We discovered that large rocks and trees had moved from the top of the mountain to the ground. It’s fortunate that the ground was wet so the rocks didn’t roll to the nearby homesteads,” said Mr Levy Dube, a villager who stays close to the mountain.

Insiza South MP Cde Malachi Nkomo visited the area on Wednesday.

He told The Chronicle that he went to the mountain which is in his constituency after he was told that there had been a landslide. He said he was shocked by what he saw.

Village head Mr Lovemore Sibanda also travelled from his homestead to see the rare occurrence after receiving news about it from villagers.

“I heard of the strange occurrence and I decided to come and see for myself. It’s amazing. We’re seeing this for the first time. It has never happened before.

“We’re therefore taking it seriously and it calls for action on our part. Maybe our forefathers are talking to us. We will therefore meet as villagers and map the way forward. This is an incident we can’t ignore,” he said.

In Matabeleland North, District Administrator for Tsholotsho Ms Gladys Zizhou said there were a few isolated incidents where pole and dagga huts collapsed because of the rains but no homesteads or villages had been affected so far in the flood-prone district.

Twenty families in Masvingo South and Chivi South were left homeless when their homes were destroyed by floods on Monday, an official confirmed.

 

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  • xhiba

    Lokhu okokudilika kwentaba kuyahlola, likhumbule ukuthi emzingwane kwakekwenzakala esinye isimanga ngabo 1979 lapho okwawa idwala elikhulu entabeni livela emqogweni, lawela phansi abantu baqala ukukhuluma ukuthi kutshoni ngesintu

    • Qhawe

      awufundanga iGeo ngiyabona

  • zim 2

    the fruits for voting for zanu pf

  • Nkunzemnyama

    Did see the so called rocks that rolled down the mountain or liyabhala nje hear-say? Most likely ngamanga la.

  • Gracious mavunah

    Guys this is true or abantu bayakhulisa
    into ngomlomo yona incani can someone put the picture of that mountain please,ngizwe lomunye ethi umabantu yawa amatshe layo!

  • TeeMan

    Nothing abnormal here. Those of us who did a bit of geography fully understand this and those of us who read papers and world news fully understand. Some large rocks and trees on mountains and hills are balanced on soil which is eroded by rains, and in this case heavy rains. This happens every rainy season unnoticed until no soil remains or at times it becomes too wet to act as a balance. In this case because the trees and rocks were very heavy, they rolled down causing the alarming noise.Besebe khuluma-ke abeSintu bethi yimihlolo.
    2009 my brother-in-laws son was killed by a badly balanced rock in the Matopo Hills. He was using the high rock to check the whereabouts of cattle. And on that fateful day soon after some rain fall the rock rolled and killed him. It took a whole village’s effort to pull him from under the rock.
    Naturally there was consultation and the prophets and Nyangas said it was a freak accident.