By Chenesai Matsikidze
The rain season started on a sad note for people in ward 10 under Chief Gwesela I, Zhombe where a heavy thunderstorm destroyed two families’ homesteads last week, it has been revealed.
Villagers in Zhombe had welcomed the rains after witnessing a series of extreme heat days which had continued to affect farmers. However, the rains came with to much power resulting in the demise of two households.
The affected villagers told this publication that such occurrences are quite common during the rain season but this year the situation is a bit worse. This time around the rains are much violent with heavy winds and fierce thunderstorms that are causing the destruction of infrastructure. Person Mhlanga of Makota village narrated his ordeal.
“What started as a drizzle ended as a terrible storm which destroyed my hut leaving me and my family homeless. The lightning was so fierce that i heard a loud noise outside and to my surprise my hut was destroyed,” said Mhlanga.
Another victim, Jacob Moyo was also left homeless as his house was destroyed by the fierce winds and thunderstorms.
“My house was gutted down by heavy winds and thunderstorms. I tried to retrieve my belongings while the house was burning, but all my efforts were in vain. I did not succeed to remove a single thing from the house. There was growing fiery as l tried to stop it.
Meanwhile, Reinford Ngwenya, the village head of Makota said that the incident shocked everyone and this has resulted in people becoming homeless during the harsh times.
“I am deeply hurt and l am appealing to the community members to assist with clothes and foodstuffs while we look for assistance from organisations like Plan to help in building shelter to these affected families. Village heads,families must unite and hold the rain making ceremony in order to appease the gods and deter such misfortunes from happening and pray for good rains that will not destroy buildings, animals and humans,” said Ngwenya.
Scientist have attributed these misfortunes to the effects of climate change which continues to tear the world apart. Southern Africa and Zimbabwe in particular is not new to these dreaded happenings. In 2019 we witnessed the devastating Cyclone Idai which claimed lives and destroyed homesteads in Chimanimani.
Climate Reality Leader and who is also the Climate Justice Zimbabwe (CJZ) Founder Perseverance Javangwe said there is urgent need to act on the climate crisis before it is to late.
“I am saddened by the situation in Zhombe, it is disheartening to hear of such news. However, this is a sign that Mother earth is warning us about. We are in a state of emergency and there is urgent need to act fast rather than being sorry. All this is a result of Global warming and the sooner we act the more we prevent such these situations from happening.
“According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as Africans we are expected to experience devastating climate change impacts. These impacts are already affecting our country as you can see, while hampering economic development, sometimes eroding years of economic progress, exacerbating conflict gender-based violence and discrimination. What we have witnessed in Zhombe is as a result of climate crisis and the question is what are we going to do about it? Should we wait for the next disasters to strike or act? The choice is always ours and we need to come up with disaster risk management that involves everyone particularly people in rural areas, even more so people with disabilities.
Javangwe further urged the government to deal away with fossil fuels and adopt clean energy. He says the continuing use of fossil fuels is causing global warming thereby resulting in heavy thunderstorms such as the one that hit Zhombe.
“I addition the extreme weather events that we are witnessing these days and associated risks threaten the lives and livelihoods of Zimbabweans, and the urgency to shift Zimbabwean economy dependence on fossil fuel based energy generation to renewable energies is very critical. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that Zimbabwe’s health, socio-economic and the climate crises are inter-connected. The pandemic has exposed how our current economic policies are insufficient for ensuring a just and equitable economic relief plan for those who are most vulnerable to the pandemic. Our economic policies have not only failed to address the climate crisis; they have destroyed our environments by allowing excessive greenhouse gas emissions contributing to air, soil, and water pollution, as well as biodiversity extinction and ecological devastation,”he said
Zimbabwe has continued to witness the effects of the climate crisis each year with the 2019 Cyclone Idai, the Elnino which resulted in the country being hit by poverty and also ESAP drought dating back to the 90s.