Wildfire Smoke’s Toll: A fact of life … and sometimes death

Veld fires claim 10

16 September 2009

published by www.herald.co.zw

Zimbabwe — Veld fires have killed 10 people and damaged valuable property worth thousands of dollars in the past two weeks.

Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said in an interview on Monday that police were disturbed by the number of people killed.

“The ZRP is quite disturbed at the loss of life witnessed in the last two weeks due to veld fires. About 10 people unnecessarily lost their lives because there is a serious resurgence of people who deliberately cause uncontrolled veld fires in various parts of the country,” he said.

Chief Supt Mandipaka said a 72-year-old farm worker at Crosby Farm in Nyamandhlovu last week started a fire that spread to a neighbouring farm and burnt seven tonnes of fertilizer, spraying machines and 20 goats among other valuables.

Chief Supt Mandipaka said people should act responsibly, especially those that live in farming communities.

“The criminal tendency of deliberately starting fires should come to an end. We encourage people to establish vibrant anti-veld fires committees and work closely with the police and the Environmental Management Agency to stamp out this environmental problem,” he said.

Four family members recently lost their lives in a veld fire in Chishawasha. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has lost electricity equipment worth more than US$400 000 to veld fires and other uncontrolled fires, Zesa Holdings has said.

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