Zimbabwe: Mining activities cause a classroom to collapse, 17 injured

A classroom collapsed Thursday in Zimbabwe, injuring at least 17 students, authorities said, blaming the accident on illegal mining activities.
The elementary school in Kwekwe, a town about 200 km southwest of the capital Harare, is located near two gold mines. The school management had complained in the past about illegal mining activities under the school.
One girl “seriously injured” was hospitalized, said a local official, Judith Tobaiwa. Photos posted on social networks show a gaping hole in the middle of the floor in the classroom, through which desks, chairs and school bags have disappeared. Seventeen students aged 10 to 11 were injured, according to Tobaiwa.
“They’re still blasting and the whole school is shaking,” she added in a telephone exchange from the scene. Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima said authorities had ordered the school closed and were trying to find an alternative for the students.
In 2020, a report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a think tank, estimated that 1.5 million people had turned to artisanal mining due to economic hardship. Accidents are relatively common in disused mines, especially when the underground is flooded with rainwater.