HomeLocalCyclone Dineo brings joy, floods to city

Cyclone Dineo brings joy, floods to city

DINEO means a gift in SeTswana and the rains caused by a cyclone bearing her name has been a gift for Bulawayo.

BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

Two of the city’s five dams — Mtshabezi and Upper Ncema —started spilling last week after hours of incessant rains pounded the region.

Bulawayo City Council had stopped drawing water from Upper Ncema Dam on November 24 last year after water levels dropped to 1.59% of its capacity.

The city was plunged into a water crisis that saw residents in some suburbs going for several days without the precious liquid.

“The Upper Ncema Dam has reached the 100% mark and is now spilling,” council tweeted on Friday.

“This morning the dam was 74.5 % and was at 99% by late afternoon,” the local authority added, as it announced the dramatic change in the city’s water supply situation.

Yesterday afternoon council used the same medium to announce that Mtshabezi Dam was now spilling.

This meant that three of the city’s supply dams were now at full capacity after Insiza Dam started spilling on January 31.

Inyankuni and Lower Ncema dams were below 50% by Thursday but chances of them recording significant inflows are high as the heavy rains associated with the cyclone left most rivers in Matabeleland South flooded.

The Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe has predicted that heavy rains would continue pounding the country, especially the Matabeleland provinces and Masvingo, leading to flooding.

Meanwhile, some houses in Bulawayo’s high-density suburbs were flooded after heavy rains pounded the city for over 12 hours on Friday.

Most low-lying areas in the city — were hit by floods, leaving some houses partially flooded.

Some residents lost property, including electrical and other household goods.

Areas that were affected included Cowdray Park, Richmond area, Emganwini, Nketa 7 and parts of Nkulumane suburbs.

In Cowdray Park, large pools of water could be seen in some areas yesterday afternoon across the sprawling suburb, considered the biggest high-density suburb in Bulawayo.

“This area was all under water,” one resident told The Standard. “We fought the water for hours so that it would not flood our house.”

But some residents were not so lucky as their houses were flooded, affecting electrical gadgets and other property.
One woman said she had woken up to a pool of water in her house.

“Since it was raining, we slept longer,” she said. “We were alarmed to wake up to a pool of water and most of our property in the living room was already affected.”

A young man whose family house was flooded blamed the local authority for the misfortune, saying it did not clear its drainage system despite warnings of heavy rains.

“As you can see, there are no [storm] water drains here,” he said.

“The water comes into our yards and since they are small yards, it ends up in our homes.

“We have reported this matter to our councillor and no action has been taken. He told us that he had reported our situation to the city fathers but we have not seen them yet.” Cowdray Park councillor, Collet Ndlovu said he reported the matter to council and was still waiting for personnel from the engineering department to attend to the problem.

“There are many residents who were affected by these floods,” he said.

“A lot of people lost their property, including beds. I spoke to the acting engineer who said he would come here and we assess the damage and see how we can assist these affected residents.

“I am still waiting for them [engineering team] since yesterday.”

Councillor Gideon Mangena whose ward 24 incorporates parts of Nketa and Nkulumane, said his area was being hit by flooding for the second time this season.

“We always talk about this matter, this issue of poor water drains,” he said.

“A lot of water went into people’s houses. I went to the engineering department at Tower Block yesterday [Friday] and made a report, so that they can come and fix the issue. I asked for an excavator, and honestly, I don’t know when they will finally attend to it.”

Mangena, however, said this time residents were more vigilant and had managed to save their properties.

In some parts of the city, including the greater part of Luveve and parts of Queenspark, the storm only affected electrical connections, causing blackouts, with residents having to go for almost 24 hours without power.

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