20 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Over 500 Feared Dead in Rising Floods Toll

Chimanimani — THE death toll in the floods devastating Zimbabwe is feared to reach 500 as hundreds of people remain missing.

To date, 100 people have been confirmed dead from 98 but 500 others are unaccounted for.

Property worth millions of dollars has also been destroyed in Chimanimani, Chipinge and Rusitu Valley in the eastern Manicaland Province, which borders Mozambique, the epicentre of the Cyclone Idai.

Search operations continued on Wednesday as the military, police and humanitarian organisation made frantic efforts to rescue civilians. Over 20, 000 people need urgent aid.

Operations have been affected by impassable roads and collapsed bridges.

The Ngangu Clinic in Chimanimani has been overwhelmed by victims of the floods.

Major-General Joe Muzvidziwa, 3 Infantry Brigade Commander in charge of Manicaland province, said the subsiding water levels and clearing weather would enable the rescue of more flood victims.

"The good thing is that the water levels have receded and if we manage to clear the roads, we could have a clear picture by end of day. We still need more nurses because those at Ngangu Clinic in Chimanimani Township are overwhelmed," Muzvidziwa said.

Edgar Seenza, provincial administrator said relief teams from NGOs, government and well-wishers were jointly working together to avert the crisis.

"We are still trying to reach the affected areas and relief teams are on the ground trying to find alternative routes to reach out to the affected communities," Seenza said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa pledged to extend his stay in the affected areas to appreciate the extent of damage caused by Cyclone Idai induced floods while at the same time consoling victims.

Deputy president Constantino Chiwenga, defence minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, and ministers of relevant departments are also in the area.

Mnangagwa expressed gratitude to Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional member states for providing relief aid.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has joined SADC members Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania in assisting.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli called Mnangagwa to express his condolences.

A plane he has deployed was to land in Zimbabwe with relief material.

South Africa has provided an air ambulance as well as a passenger helicopter.

"We are grateful for all this assistance," Mnangagwa said.

"We will move with utmost speed to restore services, water, roads and construction of bridges. We need to inculcate urgency in all stakeholders who will be tasked to provide services," said Mnangagwa.

Malawi and Mozambique are also affected in the worst flooding crisis in Southern Africa in recent memory.

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