At least 17 primary school children in Zimbabwe were injured when a huge sink hole believed to be caused by mining swallowed a classroom.
One child was seriously injured while others are being treated in hospital for minor scratches, it has been reported.
Local authorities blame uncontrolled mining for the incident at the Globe and City School in downtown Kwekwe.
There are two gold mines nearby and school officials have reportedly complained of illegal mining under the facility in the past.
Photos shared on social media show the sinkhole filled with desks, benches and school bags.
Local lawmaker Judith Tobaiwa, who visited the school after the incident, told AFP that 17 students, aged between 10 and 11, were injured, one seriously.
She said of the miners, “They’re still blasting and the whole school campus is shaking.”
Posting photos of the scene on Twitter, she wrote: “It wasn’t long ago that I recommended immediate action after visiting the school and noticing the signs. It is important to the authorities. Listen to.’
Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima said authorities had ordered the school closed and were trying to find alternative housing options for its students.
“As a government, we are very shocked by this incident and disappointed that miners have not taken the necessary measures to secure the area to prevent such an accident,” he said.
He added that an investigation had been launched to find out why it happened and who was responsible.
The landlocked South African country has vast gold reserves, with gold accounting for a third of all exports as of May last year, News24.com reports.
There are hundreds of thousands of small-scale, informal miners in Zimbabwe, many of whom operate illegally.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/17/zimbabwe-sinkhole-swallows-classroom-injuring-17-school-children-18463754/ Zimbabwe: Sinkhole swallows classrooms, injuring 17 schoolchildren