Government has released funds for the 21 deceased and 48 people who were injured in a road traffic accident in Tsholotsho. A team of 69 health workers was involved in an accident when a Matabeleland North Provincial Malaria Control vehicle they were travelling in failed to negotiate a curve and overturned before landing on its roof in Tsholotsho on Saturday. The accident occurred around 4PM at the 35KM peg along the Tsholotsho-Sipepa Road near Jimila Centre.
The driver of a Nissan UD truck that was travelling to Tsholotsho with 69 passengers on board failed to negotiate a curve and lost control of the vehicle, which veered off to the right and rolled several times before landing on its roof. Fifteen people died on the spot while six others died on admission at Tsholotsho District Hospital.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi yesterday said names of the deceased are yet to be released. In a statement issued by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing yesterday, the bereaved families will each receive $1 000 for assistance towards burials.
“Subsequent to the Declaration of State of Disaster on the accident in the Jimila area of Tsholotsho involving a lorry (UD Truck) which was ferrying Ministry of Health and Child Care members of staff in which 21 of them perished, 48 were injured, two critically; assistance is being rendered to those injured and families of the bereaved. The deceased are getting $200 from the National Civil Protection Fund, $300 from Ministry of Health and Child Care and $500 from the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe, bringing it to a total of $1 000.” The statement also read that the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe contributed $20 000. The injured fund will be given to those who are still admitted at hospitals. “The Ministry will meet the costs of admissions including the medicines and surgical sundries and investigative procedures that may be required.
“This assistance is accessible through the Provincial Administrator, Matabeleland North Province, Ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing, 6th Floor Mhlahlandlela Government Complex, Bulawayo,” read the statement. The funds will be handed over by officials who will attend a memorial service to be held at Mpilo Central Hospital for the 21 who died in the accident.
The accident victims were members of a Ministry of Health and Child Care’s Malaria Control programme team that was on duty in the province. They embarked on the malaria control programme on October 1 and had been left with two districts, Tsholotsho and Umguza. They were coming from Nkayi on their way to Jimila Clinic in Tsholotsho and the accident occurred about 300 metres away from their final destination. Passengers were trapped under the Nissan UD truck for more than seven hours as villagers battled to rescue them.
Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director Dr Nyasha Masuka said two of the victims were critical and admitted in the Intensive Care Unit while seven other critical were closely monitored. “Seven of the other critical patients have to undergo certain procedures to determine the degree of their injuries. Six were discharged to their homes while the remaining, who are admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals are in stable conditions.
“So far we have sourced medications and are working tirelessly to ensure recovery of the injured victims. The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe has also chipped in to assist on requirements for the injured victims,” he said. On Sunday, a survivor said the 28-year-old driver who is among the injured, had been drinking alcohol and was speeding when the accident occurred.