Violent storms leave hundreds of Chivhu residents homeless

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By Mashonaland East Correspondent

Chivhu: Heavy rains accompanied by violent storms pounded Chivhu Town Wednesday leaving hundreds of families here stranded after their houses were destroyed during the hailstorm.

The affected families have since approached the local Civil Protection Unit (CPU) for assistance amid reports that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is demanding $50 from each family to release a tent which they could use as temporary shelter.

Most suburbs in the town have also been plunged into darkness after power supplies were hit by lightning during the storms.

One resident, James Chikato, said the heavy rains started early Wednesday morning and left a trail of destruction in the small town situated along Harare-Beitbridge highway.

“We were happy when it started raining as we had not had any rains for some time. However, our joy turned to despair as the rains suddenly became hailstorms and caused massive damage to a number of houses in the aftermath. We have been left with no shelter as our roofs were blown off,” said Chikato.

The distraught Chivhu resident said he lost 10 roofing sheets which were blown off during the disaster.

“I have made enquiries at the local hardware shops and each roofing sheet costs $53 so I need over $500 to buy the material and for labour, money, which I don’t have. Most of the residents are in a similar predicament,” said Chikato.

One resident, who asked not be named, claimed they had approached Chivhu police seeking assistance and were told to pay $50 for a tent for temporary shelter, but most of them had failed to pay the money and were leaving in the open.

The ZRP is part of the CPU. However, efforts to get a comment from Chivhu police on the claims were fruitless.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has forecast heavy rains across the country for the next two days. It said the rains would be accompanied by violent storms, coupled with lightning, hail and damaging winds.

Some of the homes destroyed in the hailstorm