OUR expecting mothers at St Joseph’s Mission Hospital in Maphisa cheated death on Sunday after a hailstorm destroyed part of the hospital.

Two heavily pregnant women were injured as they tried to flee from their ward, while two others safely hid under a bed in the waiting mothers’ home.

St Joseph’s Mission Hospital, St Joseph’s Mission Primary school, a number of homes, and four shops had roofs blown away by strong winds that also uprooted trees at around 4PM.

Rejoice Moyo, who sustained some injuries as she ran out of the ward, narrated her ordeal yesterday.

“One of my mates closed the ward door as soon as it started to rain but the other lady insisted it was hot and the door should remain open. As I contemplated on what to do, we heard a loud, crackling noise and before I rose from my bed, there was a loud bang and suddenly asbestos fell on me, leaving me with cuts on the forehead and shoulder, “she said.

Another pregnant woman, Sethekeli Mpofu, said he was injured as she fled from the ward.

I trembled as I stepped out of the ward upon seeing a whole roof fly just above my head. I didn’t see where the roof came from but kept on running. I fell three times hurting my knee badly. My body is still aching although I have been treated for shock and high blood pressure,” said Mpofu.

She said she later realised that the roof was from the main administration block.

Two other pregnant women said they crouched under one bed in a corner and were not injured.

Thapson Moyo, Rejoice’s father, said they have never seen such destruction caused by the rains in their community.

“An electricity pole fell on the electricity transformer, destroying it and so right now the hospital has no power. The water pumping system has been affected and so little water is left in the tanks,” he said.

“The hospital will suffer in terms of hygiene because by tomorrow they won’t have water and some things like the mortuary have become dysfunctional. St Joseph is a referral hospital and so clinics will be in a crisis too.”

At St Joseph’s Mission Primary school, the roof of a classroom block was blown away and other blocks were partly damaged. A teacher’s cottage was entirely destroyed.

Headman Isaiah Namathe from St Annah village told our source that he was at the business centre when the hailstorm started.

“Four stores had their roofs blown away damaging groceries worth hundreds of dollars. We thank God no one was injured at the shops. To those in churches, we’re told many pastors saved congregants by ordering them to sit still in churches till the hailstorm died down,” said the headman.

He said children were not in school at that time.

“We are appealing to the government and well-wishers for assistance to immediately repair the hospital and school as the district is highly dependent on them,” said Namathe.

Hospital officials said last night they were using candles and a few solar lamps belonging to staff members at the institution.

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