Three burnt to death in Chimanimani veld fire

An elderly woman and two children were on Monday burnt to death when their home was gutted by a ravaging veld fire in the Runhowani area near Gwindingwe timber estate in Chimanimani.

The fire which is believed to have been started by illegal squatters who settled themselves in the vast timber plantations during the height of the land invasions has been raging on since Sunday last week.

Acting chief Muusha, born Chenjerai Muusha, confirmed the death of the three victims whose names could not be immediately ascertained.

“I am coming from the affected areas and I can confirm that three people were burnt to death by veld fire. Their bodies were taken to Chipinge hospital mortuary where they are waiting for a post mortem “said the chief in a telephone interview with The Zimbabwean.

The chief said four cattle had been burnt to death and several villagers had been injured.

“I had to ferry some of the injured villagers in my truck to Mutambara mission hospital. The fire was so intense that spirited efforts by the villagers to put it off were all in vain” he said.

Veld fires continue to be a major threat to the growth of the timber industry in Manicaland province.

According to information released by Manicaland Timber Growers and Producers Association, 19 000 hectares of timber were gutted by veld fires last year.

An average of one million hectares of land is burnt each year and a total of 72 lives have been lost over the past five years due to veld fires.

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