Africa > Southern Africa > Zimbabwe > Zimbabwe: The Agony of Villagers Cut Off By Floods

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe: The Agony of Villagers Cut Off By Floods


"These bridges were built by Ian Smith's government, I was born in 1978 and this has always been the bridge I've known; presently it's broken.

"So from 1978 until presently, this new Zimbabwe, I haven't seen anything new. Nothing."

These are the lamenting words from Nkosilathi Khumalo (38), from Sibhula village under Chief Khulumani Mathema in Gwanda District.

Sibhula, 41km south westerly of Gwanda town, is surrounded by the Hovi and Maleme rivers, which have their sources somewhere in the Matobo National Park and are tributaries of Tuli River.

For over three weeks presently, Khumalo and additional than a thousand other villagers from Sibhula and Masakeni have had their lives turned upside down because the old bridge connecting the two communities collapsed under strain from a flooded Hovi River.

The damage has cut them off from other areas and they have no access to either health facilities or schools.

The primary and secondary schools which service the community are on the island village and as a result, scores of pupils from the Masakeni area have not been going to school since the collapse of the bridge.

The Standard caught up with Khumalo on Wednesday late afternoon next he had just crossed the flooded Hovi River back to Masakeni.

His maize field is across the river in Sibhula and he lives in Masakeni.

"It's the initial time I've ever seen Hovi River this flooded. Life has been difficult," Khumalo said.

"Last month we had to carry the body of a man who had died at Gwanda Hospital, his home is across the river in Sibhula.

"As families, we had to make a plan and four men came together and carried his body across the River because Nyaradzo funeral services could not do anything."

He added: "It was risky but because we are all family here, and life has to go on, we organised four men to assist carry his body across the river.

"We would appreciate it if our government built new infrastructure for us, we need new schools, proper roads and bridges.

"Right presently the only form of development I have witnessed is the water pump and irrigation project that were commissioned by Dabane Trust.

"But because of the floods, that's all been damaged and we are presently back to drinking unsafe water from the river."

Mercymore Ncube (22), a mother of one, sat by the banks of the Hovi River with some food stuffs wrapped in a sack, as she patiently waited for some young men who are strong enough to swim across the river so they can deliver food to her three young cousins who have been staying with their grandmother in Sibhula since the bridge collapsed.

"I'm here to look for people to take food for our children across the river. This river has been flooded for three weeks and the bridge collapsed, so people can no longer move normally" Ncube said.

Two weeks ago, the Civil Protection Unit dispatched a helicopter which delivered food and medical supplies to the stranded villagers, 50 of whom are on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) and 10 on TB treatment.

According to some reports, at least 251 people died, 128 were injured, 1 576 stranded while 1 985 were displaced next the floods which President Robert Mugabe has declared a national of disaster.

Wellington Ncube (29) a good swimmer who was on hand to help his cousin Mercymore get the food across the river, as well echoed the voices of others who appealed to the government to assist them by rebuilding the damaged infrastructure.

"Our MP, Madodana Sibanda did make an effort approaching and address us, but because the bridge collapsed, he spoke to us from across the river," he said.

A lot of of the children from the Masakeni side of the village have been spending time catching fish with their elder cousins and sometimes studying, while hoping that the water levels in both Hovi and Maleme subside.

Related Articles
  • Zimbabwe announces amnesty for return of state funds taken abroad

    2017/11/29 President Emmerson Mnangagwa says anyone who fails to comply with directive within three months will be prosecuted . Zimbabwe’s new president has announced a three-month amnesty for the return of public funds hidden abroad by individuals and companies. At the same time as the amnesty expires, the government will arrest and prosecute those who have failed to comply with the directive, Emmerson Mnangagwa said in a statement on Tuesday.
  • Zimbabwe’s new leader issues ultimatum for externalised funds

    2017/11/29 Zimbabwe’s new president on Tuesday gave a three-month ultimatum for the return of funds siphoned out of the country by individuals and corporations, as he moves to stem graft and revive the moribund economy. “The government of Zimbabwe is gazetting a three-month moratorium within which those involved in the malpractice can bring back the funds and assets, with no questions being asked or charges preferred against them,” Emmerson Mnangagwa said in a statement.
  • Zimbabwe's economic situation "very difficult" - IMF

    2017/11/27 Zimbabwe’s economic increase is threatened by high government spending, an untenable foreign exchange regime and inadequate reforms, a senior International Monetary Fund (IMF) official said. Zimbabwe was once one of Africa’s most promising economies but suffered decades of decline as former President Robert Mugabe pursued policies that included the violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms and money-printing that led to hyperinflation. Mugabe, 93, resigned on Tuesday next nearly four decades in power following pressure from the military, the ruling ZANU-PF party and the general people.
  • The challenges to reform in post-coup Zimbabwe

    2017/11/27 Mugabe’s undoing came next he , Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, from the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) Party. Mnangagwa had been locked in a succession struggle with Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, and the sacking triggered the military’s intervention. A volatile situation called for calmallegedly pacifying a degenerating economic, political and social situationBoth the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) saying they will not support any government that comes to power via a coup d’état. This likely underlies the military’s determination to avoid that term.
  • Mugabe wept after 'chameleons' forced him to resign

    2017/11/27 Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe cried and lamented “betrayal by his lieutenants” at the same time as he agreed to step down last week under pressure from the military and his party next 37 years in power, the Standard newspaper said in its Sunday edition. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe loyalist, was sworn in on Friday and attention is focused on whether he will name a broad-based government or select figures from Mugabe’s era.