MASUNGA: A heavy storm left a trail of destruction here Tuesday, affecting residents in various negative ways.
On arrival at the Masunga transport terminal, people who were boarding taxis and buses to different places in and outside the village were talking about the storm.
The pangs of the devastation caused by the storm were easy to see on their faces.
But on Wednesday, the land in the village was almost dry save for small pools of water here and there.
Temperatures were also very high belying the fact that villagers said that it had rained heavily the previous day.
A giant Mascom billboard is one of the first signs that heavy rains coupled with strong winds have caused massive destruction in Masunga, which is the headquarters of the North East District Council. People interviewed by Mmegi on Wednesday, amongst them residents and entrepreneurs, said the storm that started at around 3pm and stopped wrecking havoc at around 6 pm has affected them in various negative ways.
They said what they had expected to be a normal rainfall caught them off guard and nearly took the lives of some.
A female taxi driver who chauffeured the Mmegi team around the village to observe the damage caused by the storm narrated that the rainstorm blew off blew structures of vendors selling their goods at the transport terminal and left them scurrying for their lives.
“People did not expect the rain to be accompanied by violent winds, but they experienced the shock of their lives when strong winds blew their stands. Some of the metallic structures were flying in the air,” said Mma Supang.
“The storm even destroyed the electricity transmitter which led to power cuts at some parts of the village. The electricity situation was normalised by personnel from Botswana Power Corporation on Wednesday morning.”
The Mmegi crew saw men on rooftops fixing houses whose roofs were blown off by the strong winds.
Mpolokang Sign, whose home’s roofs were all blown off by the wind, sorrowfully stated that he escaped death by a whisker when nature wrecked its havoc.
“The storm blew off the whole roof of my parents’ home. I was alone at home when the rain started. The storm then broke one of the windows which exposed me to vagaries of the weather after the storm broke the window and blew off the roof. I had no choice but to go out of the house to save my life because electricity was switched on. I was nearly shocked by electricity,” he said.
The damage caused by the storm
Destroyed billboards, broken and uprooted trees are some of the noticeable features occasioned by the storm that we saw.
A vendor who sells traditional food and other goods at the Masunga bus and taxi rank, Budzani Laba, said her wares including money were blown off and soaked by the storm.
“I am now counting losses since I had to replace my stock. Even my takings on Tuesday were blown off by the strong wind. I had placed the money under a tablecloth. Many small scale vendors like my self were equally affected by the storm,” Laba said.
Sorrow was also written on the face of the owner of River Bank Butchery, Shathiso Pharo, whose business rooftop was partly blown off by the wind.
To mitigate his misfortune, Pharo had hired carpenters to fix the roof. When the Mmegi crew arrived at his business premises, men were busy at work on top of the roof attending to the problem.
“From my projections, I think I will use more than P5,000 to replace the roof that was blown off. Luckily, the storm did not blow off the whole of my business’ roof. The ceiling saved part of the business to be drenched by the rain. Some of my stock was destroyed by the rain, but by
god’s grace, the whole business was not affected,” Pharo said.
Itani Mathumo, an official tasked with assessing the impact of the storm at the office of the NEDC district commissioner, confirmed the incident.
She stated that the storm also caused damage at Toteng village still in the NEDC.
“Thirty households were affected by the storm in Masunga. Of these families, 84 individuals were affected. The families were given food baskets ranging from P650,00 and 800,00 for period ranging from a month to three months. Three families were also given tents in Masunga but no one was injured as a result of the storm,” said Mathumo.
“The storm also destroyed electricity poles and a transformer. Some of them were attended to while some are still attended to right now.”
In relation to Toteng, Mathumo said: “In Toteng, 11 households comprising of 31 people were affected by the storm. No one was injured as a result of the storm. No one was also given a tent in Toteng. The storm also damaged offices of the department of buildings and engineering services which have since being fixed.”