Hailstorm kills one, destroys property

MASVINGO - One person died while thousands are now homeless after a hailstorm left a trail of destruction in Rutenga and surrounding areas of Mwenezi District at the weekend.

The violent storm killed livestock, wild animals and destroyed crops due for harvest.

The identity of the deceased could not be obtained at the time of going to print but the local MP Kudakwashe Bhasikiti confirmed the death and said hundreds of injured people were treated at Rutenga Clinic.

Local authorities here say over 15 000 households were affected by the storm.

Bhasikiti said the situation was so bad that  “huge numbers” of people were living in the open due to the impact of the destructive storm that caught villagers unaware.

“The destruction was so severe and extensive. Close to 15 000 households were destroyed and families here are now homeless. The situation is so dire that thousands of people are now living in the open and we also lost one person in Village One,” he said.

Bhasikiti said the storm destroyed key infrastructure such as several schools and business buildings.

Villagers who spoke to the Daily News said the disaster has left them and their families vulnerable.

“Our homes, food, crops and livestock have been destroyed. We do not know how we are going to survive,” said Hlekani Chauke of Rutenga.

Bhasikiti estimated the cost of destruction at over $10 million. - Godfrey Mtimba

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