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14 December 2011

Flash Flood in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, 14 December, 2011 at 03:56 (03:56 AM) UTC.

Image: Google Maps (Click on image for larger view.)

Heavy rains accompanied by strong winds and lightning on Monday afternoon left a trail of destruction in Lobengula West, Gwabalanda and Nkulumane suburbs. Some families are now stranded after roofs to their houses were blown off and property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed. No human casualties were reported. The rainstorm, which lasted about two hours, left water flowing at knee level through some houses in Nkulumane 12. Forceful winds uprooted trees and destroyed a gate in Gwabalanda. A Chronicle news crew visited the suburbs on Monday evening and found the streets deserted as people hid indoors fearing for their lives.

Electricity went off in most of the western suburbs as the storm raged on. Motorists were finding it difficult to drive on the roads as the rain formed potholes that filled with water. Huge trees that had been uprooted blocked the roads in some places. Miss Silabhelo Moyo of Gwabalanda yesterday said the storm blew away her sliding gate. They found it at a nearby bush. "It was very frightening because wind kept lifting the roof and threatening to blow it away. It made a loud noise as it lifted and banged down some roofs. I have never experienced such a thing. We switched off everything and huddled in a corner thinking we would die," said Miss Moyo. "When the rain finally stopped, we were shocked to find that our sliding gate had been blown away. We found it at a nearby bush yesterday (Monday) night and we called a technician to come and fix it during the night." Interviewed on Monday evening, Mrs Janet Ncube of Lobengula West said her family was lucky to survive the storm after the roof of her house was blown away. "We were in the house when it started raining at about 1pm.

All of a sudden we saw heavy rains falling into the rooms and noticed that the roof had been blown off," she said. "I rushed to disconnect all electric gadgets and started piling our property in some of the rooms that were not affected. Almost all our property that includes blankets, clothes, sofas, beds, wardrobes and others were soaked in rain as we watched helplessly the heavy rain falling." Mrs Ncube said her daughter was narrowly missed by a shower of broken asbestos and glass when the rain shattered part of the roof and a door. Occupants of the houses had put sails as makeshift roofs while piles of asbestos sheets were strewn all over the place. A resident who preferred to remain anonymous said it had been a long time since they experienced such heavy and destructive rains. "Sokulesikhathi sacina ukubona izulu elinje. Khathesi impahla yethu enengu isemanzini asikwazi ukuthi sizakwenzani ngazo," said the woman. A motorist from Gwabalanda said he was lucky to be alive after the wind blew a tree into his path near Inyanda High School. Nkulumane residents said water flowed through their homes at knee level.