Photos shared on social media show desks, benches and school bags in the hole (Picture: Twitter)
At least 17 primary school children in Zimbabwe were hurt when a massive sinkhole – thought to be caused by mining – swallowed a classroom.
One child was seriously injury while others are being treated in hospital for more minor scrapes, it has been reported.
Local authorities have blamed the incident, which happened at Globe and City School in the central city of Kwekwe, on uncontrolled mining.
There are two gold mines located nearby and the school management had reportedly complained about illegal mining underneath the facility in the past.
Photos being shared on social media show the sinkhole filled with desks, benches and school bags.
Local lawmaker Judith Tobaiwa, who visited the school after it happened, told AFP that 17 pupils aged between 10 and 11 were hurt, one seriously.
Speaking about the miners she said: ‘They are still blasting and the whole school premises is shaking.’
Local lawmaker Judith Tobaiwa points to the sinkhole and the primary school (Picture: @JudithTobaiwa2/Twitter)
People gathered at the school after the incident (Picture: @JudithTobaiwa2/Twitter)
Posting photos of the scene on Twitter she wrote: ‘It’s not long ago I recommended immediate action after having visited the school and noticed the signs. Its important for authorities 2 listen.’
Provincial affairs minister Larry Mavima said the authorities had ordered the school close and were trying to find alternative placements for its pupils.
‘As government we are very shocked by this incident and disappointed that the miners didn’t take the requisite measures to secure the area in order 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 southern African country has vast gold reserves, with gold accounting for a third of all exports in 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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Local authorities have blamed the incident in Zimbabwe on uncontrolled mining.