21 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Minister Briefs Parly On Cyclone

GOVERNMENT has said some bodies of people who have been reported missing in Chimanimani following the ravaging Cyclone Idai are reportedly floating in Mozambique and the army is on its way to retrieve them.

Presenting a Ministerial statement in Parliament on Tuesday, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said the country had witnessed a severe calamity caused by the cyclone.

He said Tropical Cyclone Idai had affected people, mostly in Chimanimani East Constituency in Manicaland.

Minister Moyo said some bodies are reportedly floating in the neighbouring country, which was also badly affected by the cyclone.

"The terrible one is what we are now witnessing at Kopa," he said.

"At some point we were told we were missing 147 people. Now we are hearing that some of the bodies of those who are missing are floating in the river, and we are being told by villagers in Mozambique as well as Kopa area.

"Even at our command office today, as I walked in after coming from Manicaland, people were calling to say more bodies are floating.

"The army is on its way now and we believe they will be able to retrieve those who are at Kopa and Rusitu."

Minister Moyo told legislators that rescue efforts were delayed because the two main routes from Mutare going to Chimanimani, which are tarred, were both impassable as bridges had been washed away.

He said army engineers had worked tirelessly to construct roads.

Minister Moyo said at St Charles Lwanga Secondary School near Skyline, 50 pupils were trapped in the dining room by mudslides while they were eating on Friday.

"We were able to evacuate the bodies because the mortuary at Chipinge was now working," he said.

"At the same time, yesterday (Monday) the army was able to get all the 175 children out.

"It is an all boys' boarding school, with the girls being day scholars.

"The army has braved the weather as it is raining, foggy and yesterday we were able to have the first flights of three helicopters.

"Two from Air Force of Zimbabwe and one private from Mars, which was hired by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, which had 13 people marooned on a hill that they could not get out of for two days.

"They were rescued yesterday, but the company did not just rescue its own people, they ended up rescuing a number of villagers who had been taken to safety.

"The company, which hired Mars, has put that helicopter to our disposal and it is continuing to evacuate people."

Minister Moyo said even though they have spent more time in Chimanimani and Chipinge, they had not forgotten that the people in Buhera, Masvingo, Zaka, Gutu, Nyanga and Mutasa had also been affected.

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