TWO people died yesterday when they were swept away after Iron Duke Dam near Glendale in Mashonaland Central, partially collapsed following heavy rains that have been pounding the area in recent days.
The water swept away a bridge and fields that are downstream.
When The Herald visited the area, people from surrounding communities were picking fish that had been washed downstream.
The nearby Iron Duke Primary School and Iron Duke Clinic were left unscathed by the flood waters.
A resident from the local community, Mr Mairos Phiri, said the area had experienced heavy rains overnight, resulting in the partial collapse of the dam early yesterday morning.
Civil Protection Unit Director Mr Nathan Nkomo said Kintyre Dam, which is located upstream of Iron Duke Dam, was the first to be breached.
He said this resulted in water filling Iron Duke Dam, forcing its wall to give-in, resulting in the disaster.
“Unfortunately, I can confirm that two people lost their lives and we are still assessing the damage and our teams are on the ground,” Mr Nkomo said.
He said affected families would be assisted.
Zanu PF Mazowe District Coordinating Committee chairman Tafadzwa Musarara visited the area yesterday and pledged to assist people affected in the nearby farms.
The country has been receiving heavy rains that have caused damage to infrastructure and loss of life in various parts of the country, especially the eastern and southern areas.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has begun an assessment of the country’s roads following damage that has been caused by the incessant rainfall nationwide.
Acting Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Winston Chitando said the safety of citizens was his ministry’s priority.
“The minister informs the public that Provincial Road Engineers (PREs) are currently on the ground assessing the state of major structures for any signs of scouring, erosion or bridge movement to timeously and effectively respond to the situation based on identified needs,” he said.
“PREs will also place warning signs to warn motorists of any identified potential danger along the country’s road network.”
Minister Chitando urged motorists and the general public to take great caution while crossing bridges and travelling at night.
“I would like to advise the nation that heavy and incessant rains that are being witnessed across Zimbabwe have badly affected the country’s road infrastructure,” he said.
“I, therefore, urge motorists to exercise extreme caution while approaching bridges as they may be weakened and/or completely swept away because of the rains.
“I further advise drivers and the public not to cross flooded rivers and to avoid driving at night as depth perception, colour recognition and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark.”