By Matabeleland North Correspondent
Dete: Hundreds of residents in Dete’s Old Township in Hwange district are living in fear as their pole and dagga homes are collapsing due to excessive rains that have been pounding the area.
Dete is a semi urban area with one sprawling high density Old Township whose homes, known as Mtuya (old huts), are largely made of thatch and dagga.
The old township was established in the 1960s and has about 500 houses built initially to accommodate migrant workers who were employed by National Railways of Zimbabwe and Dete Ceramics. Both are state entities.
Its population is largely comprised of elderly people and orphans left behind by former NRZ and now defunct Dete ceramics.
A sizeable number of residents are employed by numerous safari operators and lodges on the edge of the Hwange National Park in the Dete area.
Some of the houses especially those occupied by safari employees have been upgraded to standard homes with the rest still made of pole, dagger and thatch.
Some of them have been collapsing due to continuous rains.
One of the victims, Nelisiwe Banda said she was forced to seek refuge at a neighbour’s place.
“We were sleeping with my two grandchildren when suddenly water started flooding our room.
“The back wall had collapsed and we were lucky that it didn’t fall on us. We managed to remove some of our property and asked to take it to our neighbour’s house. As we speak, we only cook at our place and sleep at the neighbour’s place,” said Banda.
She is one of the dozens whose pole and dagga houses are in danger of collapsing.
Hwange ward 15 councillor Stanley Torima said poor drainage was the reason for flooding in the suburb.
“It’s been raining non-stop lately and people are living in fear. Those whose houses have been destroyed have sought shelter from neighbours as they wait to repair theirs. The situation is bad because there is no drainage system in the location.
“People want assistance with building materials. We have some builders who have volunteered to assist with labour and skills once material is mobilised,” said Torima.
Over the years, Hwange town has been affected by flash floods especially at the old sections of Number One and Cinderella where some residents were evacuated last year and permanently relocated elsewhere.
In Victoria Falls, parts of Mkhosana suburbs were hit by flash floods two months ago resulting in residents losing property.