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13 pupils struck by lightning

A headman drowned in Mbire, while at least 13 learners at Chitenje Secondary School in Karoi were yesterday struck and injured by lightning as heavy rains wreak havoc in different parts of the country.

Houses, livestock and property were destroyed in Chinhoyi.

This followed the death of one person in Binga on Tuesday and the extensive damage to infrastructure in the area and in Chimanimani, where 181 homes were destroyed, while two bridges were swept away.

The Department of Civil Protection Unit said it was on high alert and will continue to work with relevant authorities, including the police, Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), education officials, relief agencies and traditional leaders to see how they can reduce the damage caused by floods and heavy rains.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has forecasted scattered afternoon and evening thundershowers to continue today in all Mashonaland, Harare, Midlands and northern parts of Manicaland provinces, while the rest of the country is expected to start experiencing a decline in rainfall activity starting today.

There were widespread rains across the country on Wednesday, with considerable amounts recorded at Mukandi (94 millimetres), Sutsuku 92mm, Nyakomba 75mm, Chimhanda 67mm, Nyanga 62mm and Mutasa 56mm.

“Zimbabwe has been experiencing significant rains since February 6, and these rains persisted in most parts of the country,” said MSD yesterday. “Heavy downpours greater than 100mmm in 24 hours were recorded at a number of stations.

“The rainfall was not evenly distributed as some had localised heavy downpours, while some areas could receive much less rainfall. The significant reduction in rainfall activity is expected starting today with southern areas, including Matabeleland North, Bulawayo metropolitan southern areas of Midlands as well as Masvingo.

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“The intensity of the rainfall is expected to decline as we move into Saturday and Sunday.”

Department of Civil Protection director Mr Nathan Nkomo yesterday urged people in Chimanimani, Manicaland, and Mashonaland Central to be on high alert as the ground had reached saturation levels which will result in floods.

He said in Binga, rescue operations were continuing.

“We are liaising with Petrotrade, the only company which is running a fuel station there to ensure that supplies are in place to ensure mobility of rescue teams,” said Mr Nkomo.

“We had a successful stakeholders meeting this afternoon (yesterday) where it was agreed that focus on disaster preparedness activities should not only be focused on Binga, but Manicaland and Mashonaland Central, as the risk of flooding is high because heavy rains are still expected there until Saturday.”

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