Borrowdale ravaged by floods

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The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has warned of heavy rains countywide that are expected to intensify from Saturday to Tuesday next week.

The MSD senior forecaster Mr Tich Zinyemba yesterday called for more vigilance and preparedness, particularly for rescue operations by those responsible.

“Generally, rainfall in excess of 50mm in 24 hours is expected. Over the high ground areas along the central watershed as well as the Eastern Highlands, however, rainfall in excess of 90mm in 24 hours is highly probable. This is especially more so between Saturday 28 and Monday 30 January.

“Despite these warnings and advisories, reports of drowning are a serious cause of concern. Let us all collectively take these alerts seriously, more so between now and the middle of February,” said the MSD.

Mr Zinyemba said the present rain situation was a combination of the presence of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone and a frontal cloud system which entered the country through the south.

“Added to this combination is the heating around midday which further enhances rainfall activity,” he said.

Meanwhile, scores of people were left stranded in Carrick Estate, Borrowdale, in Harare following heavy and violent rains on Wednesday evening as the Civil Protection Unit warned against any activities along the flooded Manyame River.

A resident of Carrick Estate, Mr Enock Gede, had his Toyota vehicle swept away for about 500 metres from his house into Mubvinzi River and his property flooded.

Several other residents in the area lost household property. Trees were uprooted, a bridge was swept away, pre-cast walls collapsed while the floods also swept away crops and livestock.

Dams in the area were reported to be spilling resulting in fish being found along the river banks.

Most children from downstream failed to go to school because of the collapsed bridge.

When our Harare Bureau visited the area yesterday, most residents were speechless and still visibly shaken by the trail of destruction.

“We had to take cover in the ceiling as the water kept flowing in the house and the water level rising. Outside, it was windy with some thunder and heavy rain, so we could not get out,” said Mr Gede.

“I had never seen such rains in my life and we have never experienced such flooding in this area,” he said. Mr Gede said when he woke up this morning after the rains had stopped, he found his car missing.

“With the assistance of other residents, we searched around and found it about 500 metres away from the house tucked in between trees and facing the river,” he said.

Another resident, Mr Andrew Pahwaringira, whose house was affected by the floods because of its proximity to the river bank said he was still shocked and believed that a dam had collapsed upstream resulting in the flooding.

“The water was just too much and we still believe there could be a dam which collapsed upstream resulting in the increased flow of water. We also saw some fish scattered along the river banks and there are many people who do fish farming around this area,” he said.

While the CPU spokesperson Ms Sibusisiwe Ndlovu said no other similar reports or casualties were reported, she urged people living and farming along Hunyani River to stop all activities forthwith as the river was now flooding.

In a statement released yesterday, the CPU said flooding of Hunyani River was expected to continue up to the end of the rainy season.

“Hydrological reports indicate that all the dams on this river system have been spilling for about two weeks now.”

The dams include Chivero, Darwendale (Manyame), Seke and Bhiri.

She said the catchment area of Hunyani River has so far received up to 200 percent of normal rainfall, hence the ground was soaked and there was high run-off even with what appeared to be insignificant rains.

Ms Ndlovu said the built up areas in Harare and its satellite towns drain into Hunyani and further contribute to its high run-off.

“The river is not only in flood but is also characterised by swift currents.

“These currents are strong thus can easily drag and sweep away people, canoes and anything that ventures into the river. A number of people have been marooned and some have been swept away,” she said.

The CPU warned against attempts to cross flooded rivers and urged people to desist from any activities on the river downstream.

“Communities with equipment such as moveable water pumps downstream of major dams are urged to remove the equipment to avoid losses and everyone living near rivers must be on high alert.”

Source – chronicle

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