Cyclone Idai: Poor weather conditions affect rescue operation

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The damage caused by the ravaging Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts early this year is a litmus test to Zimbabwe’s planning and preparedness to disasters, a senior government official has said.

MUTARE – Poor weather conditions and inaccessibility of damaged roads have hampered efforts by rescuers to reach areas affected by Cyclone Idai, raising fears that the death toll might rise. On Monday morning, official figures from the Manicaland Civil
Protection Unit had risen to 82.
President Emerson Mnangagwa on Sunday declared areas already hit or
are likely to be hit by the heavy rains a state of disaster.
In an interview on Monday Chimanimani East MP Joshua Sacco said rescue operations were being hampered by the poor weather conditions and inaccessible roads.
“We have soldiers from 3 Brigade and helicopters from the Air Force,
but, unfortunately we cannot access the affected areas because of the
poor weather conditions. There are landslides in some if the roads,
but we hope that weather conditions will improve,” explained Sacco.
“We still have families who are marooned in Chimanimani. The roads and bridges were destroyed. Chipinge town council and the Zimbabwe
National Army ZNA are helping to clear the Jopa to Charter Road, so
that Chimanimani is accessible,” he said.
A Government delegation is in Chimanimani assing the situation. These
include Agriculture Minister Perrence Shiri, Local Government minister
July Moyo, Public Service , Labour minister Sekai Nzenza and Transport
minister Joel Biggie Matiza among others.
“The weather conditions are not favourable at the moment.  There is no airpower and rescuers have resorted to ground forces. There are army engineers from all over the country and special commanders so that they can negotiate their way to the most affected areas and at the moment they are clearing the roads,” said Shiri. Matiza said they have since hired a contractor who is going to help them clear the roads.
“The first priority is to have access to Chimanimani we have set down
to analyse the routes that we can use. We have hired a contractor who will help us to clear the roads,” he said.
Cyclone Idai coming from Mozambique hit hard Chimanimani and Chipinge districts in Manicaland province on Friday and Saturday and left dozens dead, while several people went missing and others homeless.

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