22 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Cyclone Idai Rescue Mission Makes Progress

THE Cyclone Idai rescue mission has made significant progress in clearing some of the blocked roads to pave way for easy distribution of relief aid to affected families.

In an interview at Skyline Junction yesterday, 3 Infantry Battalion public relations officer Major Exavier Chibasa said yesterday they airlifted supplies to affected boarding schools whose supply line was cut after bridges were washed away by the floods.

"Schools like Mutambara, Lydia Chimonyo and Biriiri are no longer accessible by road after two bridges were washed away by Umvumvumvu River and are having challenges accessing basic commodities.

"We airlifted basic commodities to these schools. This is also applying to some areas like Ngangu and Vimba which are still not accessible by road," he said.

Eight helicopters, two from the Air Force of Zimbabwe and six from private companies are leading in the rescue and relief distribution efforts.

Major Chibasa said the search and recovery efforts were progressing well as the rains have since stopped.

"All critical cases are being attended to as soon as we get reports. Some of the critical ones are being airlifted to Mutambara Mission Hospital and Chipinge District Hospital," he said.

Major Chibasa said more bodies of the victims were being recovered each day.

"Although the actual number of bodies recovered is still to be verified, over 145 bodies have been recovered in Ngangu, Vimba and Rusitu.

"Three bodies were recovered in Nyanyadzi today (yesterday). The three were identified as the passengers who were on board the Trip-Trans bus what was swept away at Skyline.

"All areas that were affected by the floods need visiting for evacuation purposes. Our members will remain on the ground working with the local communities to accord the deceased ones a decent burial," he said.

Major Chibasa said some relief stocks had now arrived in Chipinge, but could not be transported to most areas because of the poor state of the roads.

Yesterday, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Phillip Velario Sibanda and popular musician Jah Prayzah also visited Skyline.

Jah Prayzah also donated towards the Cyclone Idai victims.

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