At least 31 people have been reported dead in Manicaland Province as Cyclone Idai hit the area.The tropical storm has damaged property and crops with more devastating effects feared when it intensifies and makes inroads into other parts of Zimbabwe between yesterday evening and today.
Cyclone Idai, which brought floodwater and massive destruction to areas in Mozambique and Malawi, hit Zimbabwe on Friday, cutting off power and communications rendering all rescue efforts difficult to execute.
The Department of Civil Protection yesterday held an urgent civil protection committee meeting with all the relevant stakeholders and came up with a prioritised plan. “We are activating sub-national structures and held an urgent meeting with stakeholders who include officials from fire engine, Airforce of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Army, police sub aqua and development partners, including Red Cross, Save the Children, World Vision and International Organisation for Migration that are in the shelter cluster,” said the department’s director, Mr Nathan Nkomo.
Heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds since Thursday has swept across the Manicaland , as a result of the cyclone. The most devastating damage has so far been recorded in Mutasa, Chipinge, Mutare and Chimanimani districts.
Some schools in Manicaland were yesterday forced to cancel lessons mid-morning to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers. Heavy rains totalling more than 150 millimetres were recorded yesterday in some areas, mainly in Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South, southern areas of Midlands and Mashonaland East provinces.Chimanimani has been hit hard. Areas affected include Chimanimani urban, Charleshood Farm, Machongwe, Vhimba and Kopa Growth Point. Haroni River in Ward 12 has burst its banks. Nyahonde River at Kopa business centre has burst.
The Government has responded swiftly and all rescue efforts are being put in place.The Ministry of Information,Publicity and Broadcasting through its official Twitter handle said
“The Army is moving in from Chipinge to rescue 197 pupils from Charles Luwanga so they can take them to Mhandarume. This a very challenging operation as it’s being undertaken as a ground effort because of unsafe weather conditions for air efrorts. We will keep the nation updated”
The cyclone had by late afternoon yesterday killed 122 people in Mozambique and Malawi and caused severe flooding in Madagascar which affected hundreds of thousands of people.
People in the affected areas are encouraged to be on high alert and avoid any efforts to cross flooded rivers . There are a lot of tragic reports of some people being swept away.