Cyclone Idiai deaths shoot to 259 in Zimbabwe

Cyclone Idiai deaths shoot to 259 in Zimbabwe
Published: 23 March 2019 (231 Views)
ABOUT 259 people have so far been confirmed dead and 217 unaccounted for, while over 16 000 households have been displaced by Cyclone Idai-induced floods that hit the eastern part of the country last week, a United National agency responsible for migration said yesterday.

The International Organisation for Migration said 100 people were still marooned in the country's most affected areas of Chipinge and Chimanimani, while hundreds had been injured.

Aid agencies said the death toll would likely rise.

Some rescue workers told NewsDay Weekender of many "floating bodies" at the confluence of Rusitu and Nyahode rivers.

Rescue missions continued, with the Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopters and other partners stepping their rescue efforts, airlifting survivors to Chipinge District and Mutare General hospitals.

Mobile operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe brought in six helicopters, several drones and rescue boats.

"We believe no stone should be left unturned in the search and rescue of survivors," said Econet Zimbabwe Group chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni, who has virtually left his full-time job to focus on the crisis.

Mboweni is leading a team of more than 50 volunteers from the Econet group and its Higherlife Foundation.

"We use drones for inspecting structural defects on our towers, among other network deployment related things, but we realised that we can use them in the search for survivors. They are better than helicopters in certain situations because they fly much lower. We give all information to the authorities that we are working closely with," he said.

Mboweni said companies in Victoria Falls and Kariba had sent specialist boat crews to navigate the rivers, while others had supplied specialist equipment.

"We also have doctors who have joined us as volunteers," Mboweni said.

Yesterday, NewsDay Weekender witnessed some survivors with bruised and swollen faces receiving treatment at Mutare General Hospital.

The Urban Council Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) yesterday pledged to contribute equipment towards the reconstruction of infrastructure in areas that were hit by Cyclone Idai.

UCAZ president and Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe told journalists in Harare that the association, which is made up of 32 urban local authorities, was committed to supporting government in mitigating the effects of the destruction of infrastructure by Cyclone Idai.

"As urban local authorities, we are aware that efforts to restore damaged road infrastructure is underway to enable relief to reach affected. However, the equipment on the ground is inadequate. Government has called upon local authorities to contribute plant and equipment," he said.

"We have heeded the call and some local authorities have made available bulldozers, front-end loaders and tipper trucks, which we are handing over to government through the parent ministry."

Harare City Council pledged to contribute $30 000, while the City of Bulawayo pledged $20 000.

UCAZ committed 10 tipper trucks, three front-end loaders and one grader, among other equipment.

Makombe urged government to relocate people illegally settled in wetlands, as they were vulnerable to flood disasters, while also calling for the capacitation of the Department of Civil Protection to effectively enable it to deal with disasters.

Chimanimani East legislator Joshua Sacco (Zanu-PF) said they had identified distribution points for airdropping relief in areas currently not accessible by road.

He said airdrops to Ngangu, Machongwe, Chikukwa and other affected areas were being done by the airforce and other partners.

"Relief is trickling in. Once the access roads are opened to heavy traffic, then relief will come in bulk. At the moment, small vehicles have been getting access," he said.

"Once we have heavy traffic to Ngangu and Kopa then the bulk of aid can reach the people. We also had a good response from the donor community and well-wishers. I have been on the ground identifying routes in most affected areas. I have been mobilising equipment, Air Force has done evacuations of patients and supply of medication at hospitals."

Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri was reportedly earmarked to visit affected areas yesterday near Mozambique with a Chinese delegation to assess the damage of infrastructure.

The tour was postponed following reports that the helicopter they were supposed to use was assigned to other missions.

The Chinese government on Thursday donated 11 truckloads of foodstuffs, clothes and other necessities worth at least $300 000.

An international development charity, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), estimated the victims of Cyclone Idai, which hit Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, at over 1,6 million.

In a statement, VSO said its volunteers and programmes teams had been working within disaster-affected communities in Mozambique and Zimbabwe and had witnessed the devastating impact of the tropical storm.

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) said its relief efforts were being co-ordinated through its development agency, CARITAS.

In a letter, ZCBC encouraged all sectors in the country, the government and churches, civil society groups, business and development agencies to work together in a harmonised way to bring immediate and long term relief to all the "unfortunate people whose lives have been devastated by Cyclone Idai".

"Such disasters can remind us that we are all brothers and sisters, that we all share the great dignity as beloved children of our loving Lord. Our life on earth, though very precious, is very fragile and any day can be our last day," ZCBC said. "Let us use each day to show love to others, to value the gift of human life and to believe that our lasting home is in heaven, where there will be no more tears and sadness."

- newsday

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Mnangagwa asks UK to arrest Sibusiso Moyo's attackers

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 40 Views

Freedom of Information Bill

by MISA Zimbabwe | 16 July 2019 | 28 Views

Botswana: A base for future US military control of Southern Africa

by Zimbabwe Communist Party | 16 July 2019 | 29 Views

'Chiwenga bought Kasukuwere's wedding ring'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 75 Views

White farmer thanks Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 49 Views

Zimbabwe should have sent the Gems to AFCON

by Kubatana | 16 July 2019 | 47 Views

'I must be anointed new President of Zimbabwe,' says Chamisa

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 67 Views

Mutasa wanted Mugabe tried at ICC over Gukurahundi

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 76 Views

Mthwakazi National Party takes ZANU PF and MDC head on

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 65 Views

Controversial Uebert Angel meets Yoweri Museveni

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 49 Views

Civil servants stage demonstration in Harare

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 83 Views

Teachers vow to shutdown schools on 22 July

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 54 Views

Zesa to install prepaid meters on govt buildings

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 43 Views

WATCH: Chamisa speaks ndevere

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 53 Views

'A coup against Mnangagwa is about to explode'

by Blessing Ivan Vava | 16 July 2019 | 78 Views

All set for tomorrow's anti-Mnangagwa demonstration

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 69 Views

Restrain your wife - Mnangagwa told

by Methusi Ncube | 16 July 2019 | 268 Views

Mnangagwa-Army fallout deepens

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 189 Views

Auxilia Mnangagwa: A highly trained CIO spy

by Mandla Ndlovu | 16 July 2019 | 188 Views

MDC apologises to Mthwakazi

by Mbonisi Gumbo | 16 July 2019 | 126 Views

Smelly Dube scoops top UK award

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 130 Views

Attack on Mugabe coup announcer exposes polarisation

by Editorial Comment | 16 July 2019 | 181 Views

Kombi operators raise fares

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 187 Views

'Devolution a disappointment'

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 99 Views

Mnangagwa fumes over ivory, rhino horns

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 138 Views

MDC blames intimidation for by-elections loss

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 92 Views

Chamisa changes tact

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 164 Views

Zimbabwe's telecoms firms in revenue decline

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 82 Views

Paynet readmits 3 banks as alternative is tested

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 141 Views

Gukurahundi 'architect' threatens

by STaff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 97 Views

Chamisa's MDC has no more political depth than a finger bowl

by Tichaona Zindoga | 16 July 2019 | 125 Views

Zanu-PF youths take clean-up to UK

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 98 Views

Prophet in court for poisoning father to inherit his Mazda 323

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 94 Views

Chmaisa mustn't underestimate the electorate

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 102 Views

Mnangagwa hands over medical equipment

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 78 Views

Guard shoots self 3 times in suicide

by Staff reporter | 16 July 2019 | 105 Views