Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
MORE than 20 homesteads in Chironde Village under Chief Nhema in Shurugwi were destroyed after a heavy downpour preceded by a violent thunderstorm and strong winds lasting about 20 minutes ravaged the area last Wednesday.

Nine people including six secondary school pupils and a child were injured after being hit by falling bricks and roofing sheets.

Three of the injured who include two women and the child were injured when the house they were in collapsed while the six pupils were injured when their classroom roof was blown off.

All the injured were treated and discharged except for one woman who is still admitted to Shurugwi District Hospital.

Shops owners at Chironde Business Centre were left counting their losses as most of their buildings were destroyed.

The villagers said they urgently need food aid and resources to rebuild their homes as many of them had now moved to stay with relatives from neighbouring villages.

Shurugwi North MP, Cde Robson Nyathi (Zanu-PF) said the situation was dire as some families were left with no shelter, food and clothes.

“There was a hailstorm accompanied by strong winds which destroyed people’s homes, Chironde Clinic and Chironde Secondary school and shops on Wednesday afternoon. I have been going around the village to access the trail of destruction and I must say it is massive. We need a lot of resources to assist the affected families,” he said.

Cde Nyathi said he was happy that eight of the injured had been treated and discharged.

“When I visited Shurugwi District Hospital yesterday, there was only one woman still admitted. All the others had minor injuries and had therefore been discharged,” he said.

Cde Nyathi said Unki Mines had pledged to repair the classroom block that was destroyed at Chironde Secondary School.

He said the department of Public Works has also made a commitment to repair the clinic as soon as possible.

Shurugwi District Development Co-ordinator, Mr Langton Mupeta said the District Civil Protection Unit (DCPU) was on the ground assessing the damage.

“We’re still collating information so that we make recommendations on how best the affected families and institutions can be assisted,” he said.

Chief Nhema said some of the affected villagers were sleeping in the open while some have erected temporary structures at their homesteads.

“The hailstorm left a trail of destruction and we are appealing to Government to assist the affected villagers rebuild their destroyed homes,” he said.

According to the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) the country is expected to receive heavy storms coupled with localised heavy downpours, strong winds and lightning until tomorrow.

The MSD has warned motorists against crossing flood rivers as some areas are likely to experience flash floods.

Citizens are also urged to stay indoors during thunderstorms but if caught outdoors, they should not seek shelter under isolated trees or small sheds.

If no shelter is available, MSD said, people should crouch as low as possible with only their feet touching the ground.