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More Than 30 Die in Zimbabwe Commuter Accident

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Automotive Africa Buses

More Than 30 Die in Zimbabwe Commuter Accident

Peta Thornycroft
Voice of America
March 6, 2007

At least 34 people are reported dead after a packed commuter mini bus crashed into a railway engine on the outskirts of Harare. Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA that Harare's main hospital is struggling to cope with another 20 seriously injured commuters.

Assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudizjena said the commuter bus was heavily overloaded during the morning rush when it crashed into a National Railways of Zimbabwe engine at a rail crossing.

He said the small bus had 53 passengers and should only have been carrying a maximum of 30.

Assistant Commissioner Bvudzijena said the crash could be Zimbabwe's worst commuter accident.

The accident occurred near a poor township, Dvarasekwa, about 15 kilometers west of the Harare city center.

Many of those who regularly use the bus are women who buy wholesale fruit and vegetables at the market and re-sell on the side of the road in Dvarasekwa.

Many fares on commuter mini buses, or emergency taxis as they are known in Zimbabwe, have trebled in the past five weeks, as Zimbabwe's economy continues to plunge. A regular commuter in central Harare said all the vehicles are overcrowded because of the high cost of fuel.

A member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change who monitors transportation issues, Edwin Dzambara, said Zimbabwe's transport system is in a state of collapse. He said most vehicles on Zimbabwe's roads are unsafe.

Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, where the victims are being treated, is back in operation this week after a two-month strike by junior doctors. The strike ended when the government awarded pay increases.

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