Cyclone Idai update: 31 deaths, hundreds still missing

MUTARE – A total number of 31 people have been confirmed dead in Manicaland province, as torrential destruction from Cyclone ldai continues destroying houses, vegetation and bridges.

The Manicaland Civil Protection Unit chairperson William Boore confirmed of the deaths that occurred in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts. The cyclone which hit on Friday and Saturday was characterised by heavy rains and windy conditions left a trail of destruction as some houses were destroyed living 25 houses destroyed and 150 families homeless.

Some livestock too were affected. Said Boore: “We confirm the death 23 people due to the cyclone. Rescue operations are underway and we urge people not to panic.”

He said various rescue partners have joined in putting mechanism to rescue the stranded families and livestock. It was a sad sight as families moved to hills and mountains for safety. Villagers watched helplessly and in tears as they saw their homes and property being destroyed and swept away. Chief Meteorological Officer for Manicaland Lucas Murambi said: “We are excepting more rains today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday). As from late Sunday the cyclone is moving towards Mutare North in parts that include Mutasa and Nyanga districts.

“Some schools in Manicaland were closed as the authorities feared for the pupils’ safety. Airforce of Zimbabwe helicopters failed to rescue stranded villagers as the heavy weather conditions prevented the rescuers from rescue operations.”