railway tracks

Rail suicides increase

B-Metro Reporter
There was an increased level of suicide and over-excitement related deaths over the  years which the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) attributes to the festive mood, “January Disease” among other social dilemmas.

According to data collected by the NRZ, September , December and January are the months of death.

“The statistics show trends or occasions in suicide cases increasing in January, September and December, which could be attributed to the so-called January ‘disease’ and school fees dilemma among other social effects.  Rejection, negligence, societal stigma and unemployment are possible contributing factors to these prevalent suicide cases,” said Fanuel Masikati, the parastatal’s public relations manager through a press release.

The statement comes at a time when for the past five years, between January 2010 and July 2015 there has been an increase in train suicides whereby people throw themselves at moving goods and passenger trains around Zimbabwe.

“An analysis of recorded statistical figures of people who died after throwing themselves in front of on-coming trains reveals that from January 2010 to July 2015, the country lost 87 people in suicide cases by throwing themselves in front of trains, which is really sad indeed.

“On the other hand, from January 2010 to July 2015, 114 people died and 552 were injured at rail/road level crossings.  We, therefore, urge all drivers to put on a human face when driving on our roads, so as to protect and save precious and irreplaceable human lives,” he said.

Last month probably a statistic not included in the latest report, four people died on the spot when the vehicle they were travelling in was hit by a train at a rail level crossing near Emganwini suburb in Bulawayo. They were coming from Redwood in Figtree.

The vehicle which had two men and two women, was heading for Emganwini suburb when the driver failed to stop at a rail level crossing resulting in the accident. All the three passengers and the driver died on the spot. The passenger train from Plumtree was heading for Bulawayo and no one on the train was injured.

Nonetheless, with such accidents in mind the NRZ emphasized the need for increased caution during the festive season.

“The NRZ is appealing to all motorists and public transport drivers to exercise extreme care and caution, when approaching rail/road level crossings.  All motorists are reminded that as they are taught during driving lessons, they should always observe and exercise extreme caution, when approaching rail/road level crossings, in order to protect precious human lives,” reads the statement.