Strong winds injure 24 pupils

Walter Mswazie  Masvingo Correspondent
A PUPIL sustained serious spinal injuries while 23 others were treated for shock and minor bruises when strong winds blew off the roofs from two classroom blocks at Charera Primary School in Zaka.About 100 pupils cheated death and property worth $10,000 was destroyed.

The incident happened last Wednesday at around 11AM when teachers were conducting lessons.

The teachers said the seriously injured pupil was briefly admitted to Masvingo General Hospital while the other 23 were treated and discharged at Ndanga District Hospital.

They said about 144 asbestos sheets, some benches and window panes were destroyed with part of the walls to the buildings also falling.

Chief Ndanga has appealed for assistance to send the seriously injured pupil for an operation.

“We are mobilising $200 from community members so that the boy is sent for an operation. He was struck by the edge of an asbestos sheet as he tried to hide under the benches.

“He was treated at Masvingo General Hospital and discharged but is still complaining of the pains and has difficulty in walking,” said Chief Ndanga.

Masvingo provincial education director Zadius Chitiga confirmed the incident.

“Four classrooms were left with no roofing as rain accompanied by strong winds blew off the asbestos sheets.  However, we are happy that teachers were in total control of the situation.

“They managed to maintain pupils’ safety, although 24 pupils had to be rushed to the hospital,” said Chitiga.

He said there was panic when the roofing sheets fell into the classrooms with some bricks also falling from the walls.

“Pupils were hit by bricks and cut by the sharp edges of asbestos sheets.  I would want to thank teachers who managed the situation as they helped   pupils remain calm to avoid further injuries.

“We are also happy that the injured pupils were treated and discharged including the one who was seriously injured,” Chitiga  said.

He urged teachers and parents to work together in protecting schoolchildren during the rainy season to avoid unnecessary injuries or loss of life.

“We urge teachers and parents to ensure that schoolchildren are safe especially during the rainy season. Children always look up to their teachers and parents for protection,” he said.

Late last year 200 families were left homeless and several school children stranded when hailstorm accompanied by strong winds struck in Mwenezi and Bikita.


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