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Kamandama Mine Disaster victims remembered amid growing concerns of another disaster

AS the nation on Monday commemorated the Kamandama Mine disaster, Hwange residents have expressed concern over another looming disaster of underground coal seam fires in the area.

In the mine disaster which occurred on June 6 1972, a total of 427 miners perished following an underground methane dust explosion.

The accident, one of the worst mine disasters recorded, was so bad that most miners’ bodies were not retrieved and the shaft sealed off.

Miners drawn from South Africa, Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Costa Rica, among other countries, also died.

Humans and livestock are at risk of falling into smoldering fires beneath unstable ground.

In an interview, Greater Hwange Residents Association Coordinator, Fidelis Chima, urged the government to address the underground coal seam fires, saying the effects of the infernos could have far reaching implications than the Kamandama mine disaster.

Humans and livestock are at risk of falling into smoldering fires beneath unstable ground.

“As we commemorate the Kamandama mine disaster, we urge the government to address the issue of underground coal seam fires which is wreaking havoc in Hwange. Last year, a young life was lost due to the fires while a lot of livestock has also been lost as a result of the fires. If not carefully handled, these fires could be the Kamandama of our time.”

Unfenced areas above the fires are often used as outdoor toilets, playgrounds and grazing areas.

Hwange central MP, Daniel Molekele, also spoke over the surviving spouses of the mine tragedy victims who have been neglected by authorities.

Over 30 widows still surviving formed their representative body, Kamandama Widows Association, which is pushing for the improvement of their welfare.

“Most women who lost their husbands in the Kamandama mine disaster are living in abject poverty. They do not have any support from the Hwange Colliery Company or government. I implore all stakeholders to assist the widows,” said Molekele. – (New Zimbabwe)


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