7 November 2018 | Strong winds caused the roof of Adventist-run Maranatha High School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, to collapse, injuring seven students. The students who were injured in the October 31 incident were taken to United Bulawayo Hospitals. The damage to the two-story school took place at about three in the afternoon.
According to the Chronicle, emergency services and concerned parents flocked around the school. Four students were treated for minor injuries, while three were treated for shock.
Calling the incident a disaster, Bulawayo acting Provincial Education Director, Mrs Olicah Kaira, said that it was fortunate that most students had returned home before the roof collapsed.
“I got a phone call from the District Schools Inspector just after 4 p.m. advising me that the newly constructed science laboratory at Maranatha High School had been blown away by strong winds. The message from the DIS shocked me because I could tell from the tone of his voice that he was also in shock,” said Kaira.
“I said to him, Have we managed to make sure that pupils are safe? and he assured me that a number of them had left school but four were injured. Two ambulances rushed them to the United Bulawayo Hospitals. Three others were admitted for shock but the rest were discharged,” added the official.
Kaira floated the possibility that the damage could have been the result of shoddy workmanship in the construction of the roof but said she would wait for the results of an ongoing investigation into the incident.
“This is a new thing where we are encouraging schools to build high-rise buildings so that we have adequate classroom space for our learners. We were yet to commission the building and give the school a certificate of occupancy so that the pupils could start using the science laboratory,” said Kaira.
“I’m not a building specialist myself but my assessment and observation points to poor workmanship. I’m yet to get proper advice and guidance on the way to go from experts but we are launching a full-scale investigation with the aid of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works, National Housing.”
According to the Adventist denomination’s Office of Archives, Research and Statistics, the Zimbabwe Union Conference of the denomination has 863,932 members and 2,144 churches.