Catholic-run Hospital in Zimbabwe Facing "serious threat" From River Bank Erosion

River bank erosion at Chitsungo Mission Hospital, Zimbabwe. Credit: Chinhoyi Diocese/Facebook

St. Raphael Chitsungo Mission Hospital in Zimbabwe’s Chinhoyi Diocese is under threat due to the erosion of the banks of Hunyani River. 

In a Tuesday, May 17 report, officials of Chinhoyi Diocese say the erosion, which is changing the hospital's site, will have an effect on the larger Mbire District Mashonaland Central if it is not addressed urgently. 

"Chitsungo Mission Hospital, a Catholic run hospital in Mbire District Mashonaland Central is under serious threat from hydraulic action river bank erosion from the Hunyani river," officials of the Zimbabwean Diocese say. 

They say the site of the hospital that is situated on the bank of Hunyani river is "slowly moving."

Officials of Chinhoyi Diocese who say the erosion increases during the rainy season attribute the wearing away of the Hunyani river banks to flooding, riverbank cultivation, and deforestation. 


They say, "The chances of flooding increases in the rainy season. During flooding, the huge amount of water flowing with higher velocity brings enough energy to tear away the top layers of soil or even cause mass failure."

They add, "The downward velocity against the river bank is the erosive force."

In the May 17 report, the officials of Chinhoyi Diocese say there are various techniques that can be used to prevent the erosion of Hunyani river banks. 

They highlight soil erosion mats or blankets, biodegradable erosion control, permanent erosion control blankets or mats, photodegradable erosion control mats as some of the interventions that can be used to control the wearing away of the river bank. 

They explain that soil erosion mats or blankets are stabilization fabrics that reinforce the soil and support the bank until plants are ready to take root. 

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These mats, they say, "help to slow down the flow velocity of water along the surface."

The Chinhoyi Diocese officials say there is need for experts to assess the damage made on Hunyani river bank so as to find the best solution for the environmental issue. 

"The situation needs urgent attention and this is beyond the mission hospital on its own as the hospital acts as a District hospital and a referral hospital for about 13 clinics in the district," they say. 

They add that failure to address the erosion affecting the mission hospital "will affect the whole Mbire district at large and if left unattended, the long run consequences have ripple effects to the district."

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.