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Over 700 houses collapse due to heavy rains in Epworth, thousands at further risk  

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By Leopold Munhende | Chief Correspondent


OVER 700 houses have collapsed in Epworth since the commencement of the rainy season, with December’s incessant showers leaving hundreds more homeless and desperate for aid.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing heavy rains despite a delayed season.

Other outlying areas such as Budiriro and unserviced stands in Kuwadzana Extension experienced massive flooding that claimed one life.

Hundreds were also left homeless after their homes collapsed.

With Epworth dominated by illegal settlements or buildings that were never inspected and do not pass construction tests, thousands remain at risk as the rains continue.

A visit to Jacha and Komboniyatsva revealed a community ready to vacate their homes in fear of losing their lives. Both communities house over 5,000 families.

“It is now two weeks since the disaster, if we had enough we would have rebuilt our homes alone but we are poor and do not have that capacity,” said Douglas Matatani (58) a resident of Jacha who has been resident there for 28 years.

“The rains continue to fall, the houses that did not collapse were shaken, and some of them are likely to collapse.

“We are people in need of help so that we continue with our lives. We need urgent attention.”

Matatani lost three rooms and a stand-alone toilet. Although he has tried to rebuild his home, an obvious absence of cement shows his work might just be in vain if rains fall as hard as they did in December.

A stone’s throw away Moline Muzuku (22) witnessed his brother-in-law’s home collapse.

The brother-in-law was forced to seek shelter elsewhere, transfer his children from a nearby school, and reportedly now survives on handouts.

He cannot afford to rebuild his two-roomed home.

“If this befalls my family I do not think I would be able to rebuild my home, look they have failed to do so and they go to work; I do not even have a job,” said Muzuku, who has two children and leaves in a similar home next to the one that fell.

The Epworth Local Board has a list of all affected homes and families.

 

A report is yet to be made to the government’s Civil Protection Unit (CPU) however, raising eyebrows someone in the Council could have ignored their plight.

“This is scary, people’s lives are in danger because of the collapsed houses. I call on the government to assist with bricks and cement to assist in building proper houses,” said Epworth North legislator Zivai Mhetu.

“May the Local Government Minister please prioritise Epworth, push for regularisation so that we save lives, look these people pay bills to the council.”