Floods wreak havoc in Chitown

Strong rains in and around Chitungwiza over the past few days brought up the Nyatsime River and its tributaries flooding lower lying areas and damaging or destroying homes in the town.

The flooding damaged infrastructure in Unit J, Unit G behind Seke Teachers College, Unit K, Unit A Extension, Zengeza 1, Zengeza 2, Old St Mary’s and the Nyatsime area, partially submerging some homes and leaving several residents stranded and destroying property.

Residents of Nyatsime suburb were cut off from the rest of the town by a bridge that was reportedly impassable. A driver who tried to cross the flooded Duri stream was lucky to escape unharmed as his car was swept away. Mr Tongai Mafuwa, a resident in Nyatsime said they faced difficulties in crossing the bridge during the rainy season.

“We are unable to cross our bridge because it is too low for people to safely cross the high water. This is the issue we are facing,” he said.

Mr Mafuwa said the flooding strained budgets since money was used for transport on longer alternative routes.

“We have to pay US$4 because we are taking a different route that passes through the Mbudzi roundabout, travels through Chihota, and then returns to Nyatsime.

“This is putting a strain on our finances as we are spending US$10 per day, more than our daily transportation budget of US$3, particularly for those who work in Harare CBD,” he said.

Mr Mafuwa echoed complaints about the poor condition of the roads that invite robberies, and many people are risking their lives by swimming because of reports of crocodiles and hippos killing people.

“Because of the numerous potholes on our road, which are especially dangerous during the rainy season, armed robbers will take advantage of this and steal our hard-earned money. We are unable to swim across the river due to the risk of being ensnared by crocodiles or hippos, as numerous incidents have occurred,” he said.

Ms Yvette Moyana said no one has the idea of whether there is a bridge or not because of the floods.

“The majority of the locals are currently perplexed since nobody is certain if the Nyatsime bridge was washed away or is still standing,” she said.

Ms Moyana said due to this flooding, it is costly for people to commute to and from hence they stay indoors and some of them relocate.

“Since it is costly for them to travel to the other side of the river, the majority of students will stay indoors.

“In order to keep costs as low as possible, the majority of parents in Zengeza choose to rent rooms for both themselves and their kids,” she said.

Chitungwiza Mayor Rosaria Mangoma said yesterday so far they do not have any reports of deaths or injuries in the affected areas.

However, she confirmed that household property and infrastructure such as roads, bridges and houses were damaged.

On the north bank of the Manyame River, Harare has also seen severe flooding in the Marimba River Catchment with houses submerged in Kuwadzana and Buduriro Extension.

Both urban areas are quite densely built over, when heavy rains fall much of this rainfall is on roads, roofs and hard ground, so most runs off rather than soaks into the ground.

This fills the rivers and their tributaries with the main river systems in the two municipal areas being the Mukuvisi and Marimba in Harare and Nyatsime in Chitungwiza.

Over more than a century the Mukuvisi has seen extensive canalisation of the river and its larger tributaries, but not much work has been done on the other two rivers, hence the flooding that is seen after persistent rain.


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