An eight-year-old girl suffered serious burns on both legs, stomach and chest after she fell in an old coal dumpsite in Hwange on Monday.
The girl, whose name could not immediately be established, is reported to have gone to a nearby bush to relieve herself close to an old mine dump when the ground collapsed underneath her feet resulting in her falling into the dumpsite and being burnt by an underground coal fire.
CITE quoted a source as saying the girl was quickly rushed to Hwange Colliery Hospital and later transferred to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo. Said the source:
The incident took place yesterday at around 4 pm at a place called Kamponi, in Makwika village.
We understand that she went to the bush to relieve herself and the ground collapsed resulting in her sustaining serious burns.
Her sister came to her rescue as she acted quickly and dragged her out of the burning coal. She was quickly rushed to Hwange Colliery Hospital.
This was a very serious accident as she suffered severe burns while her clothes and shoes were left in the pit.
Hwange residents said the lack of water and poor sanitation at most communal toilets in areas under HCCL concession areas is forcing them to practice open defecation near these old unsecured mine dumps.
Greater Whange Residents Trust Coordinator, Fidelis Chima condemned the increase in such cases arguing that Colliery needed to act to avert future occurrences. He said:
Greater Whange Residents Trust condemns the increase of burnt children at dumpsites and it appears Hwange Colliery Company is not doing enough to address these issues and we will definitely approach the company, EMA and government so that they address these issues. These children are left with permanent injuries, parents distressed.
Chima said that they were advocating for mining companies and stakeholders to address such issues.
CITE reported that the child’s father, Andy Muzwiti could not be reached as he was said to be in transit to Bulawayo with his daughter while Hwange Colliery Company corporate Affairs manager, Beauty Mutombe had not responded to questions sent to her.