TWO pupils from Seke 1 High School in Chitungwiza died while 13 male inmates at Hwange Prison sustained injuries after being hit by lightning in separate incidents.
The country is currently experiencing torrential rains, strong winds and thunderstorms predicted to continue until Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Meteorological Services Department warned that the country will witness five days of heavy rains that could cause severe damage such as blowing off roofs or uprooting tress from Friday until Wednesday this week.
The Government has since activated disaster response teams in anticipation of the severe weather conditions.
In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said the two girls were struck by a bolt of lightning while walking home from school in Chitungwiza on Friday afternoon.
One of the girls was then run over by a vehicle as she lay prostrate on the road after the lighting had struck her down.
“The ZRP reports the death of two minors (15) from Seke 1 High School on November 19, 2021 due to lightning,” reads the police statement.
“The victims, who were coming from school, fell on the tarmac after being struck by a lightning bolt and one was hit by a motorist driving a Toyota Sprinter registration number ADJ 4486.
“Both victims were sent to hospital and were pronounced dead upon admission. Police urge all motorists to be cautious on the roads and avoid speeding especially in built-up areas.”
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services national deputy spokesperson, Superintendent Peter Chaparanganda, said the 13 inmates were struck by lightning while having lunch inside the prison yard.
Four of the inmates are reported to be critically injured while the other nine are understood to be in a stable condition.
Supt Chaparanganda said the four inmates in critical condition were referred to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo while the other nine are recuperating at St Patrick’s Hospital in Hwange.
“On November 19, 2021 a bolt of lightning struck at Hwange Prison in Matabeleland North Province and 13 convicted male inmates were affected,” he said.
“This happened around 1130 hours while inmates were being fed lunch inside the prison yard.
“All the 13 inmates were rushed to St Patrick’s Hospital and upon reaching the hospital, four of them were reported to be in critical condition while the other nine were reported to be stable. The four were referred to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo for further management.”
In an interview with The Sunday Mail yesterday, Civil Protection Unit director Mr Nathan Nkomo said they have a plan to minimise loss of life and assist persons affected by the heavy rains. “We are prepared and our level of preparedness speaks to the issue of minimising loss of lives and destruction of property. We have a contingency plan which was approved by Cabinet and that plan involves each and every stakeholder. In terms of relief we will be using residue that came from Covid-19 relief funds. So far we have 3 987 tonnes of grain ready while our Department of Finance is working on a bigger budget.”
According to a weather advisory notice issued by the MSD on Thursday, moisture is drifting into the country from Botswana through Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces.
“This, coupled with the high temperatures over much of the country, should result in thunderstorms which may be violent in places and be coupled with strong winds, lightning, hail and heavy rains in some places,” reads the notice.
“This is normal for this time of the year, especially in a season which is expected to have normal to above-normal rains. It is anticipated that there may be strong winds that can blow off roofs, blow around loose debris and cause trees to fall. Avoid travelling in open trucks, being in the open field or under trees. If you urgently need to travel, take caution on the roads, as roads may be slippery, and contain hidden dangers covered by water, including fallen trees, utility poles and live wires,” the MSD said.
– Sunday Mail