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Cyclone Idai wreaks havoc

18 Mar, 2019 - 00:03 0 Views
Cyclone Idai wreaks havoc Part of the road damaged by the floods at Umvumvu River along Mutare-Chimanimani Road

The Herald

18 March 2019

12:00 – Chipinge Civil Protection Unit this morning dispatched five teams to various areas in Chimanimani district with some preliminary food aid.

Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Sekai Nzenza addresses the media late yesterday on the progress in providing assistance to victims of Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani.

Mr Tedious Beto, the Assistant District Administrator is also part of those distributing food aid and dropped bags of rice to about 35 people who escaped the floods and sought shelter at Chipangayi Secondary School.

“What we are giving is courtesy of the Minister of State, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba and we will come back again when the provincial and national offices respond,” said Mr Beto .

Cyclone Idai left a trail of destruction in several parts of Chimanimani.

A partially submerged homestead near Marowanyati Dam in Buhera West. Member of Parliament for the area Soul Nzuma says mostly affected were about nine families who ignored calls to relocate during the construction of the dam.

Meanwhile the Zinwa Acting Chied Executive, Engineer Taurai Maurikira, and the Save Catchment manager Ms Tendai Muyambo visited their employees at Chipangayi Secondary School and handed over some more foodstuffs.

Engineer Maurukira said it will take time to restore potable water as the water engines were been destroyed and some submerged.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared a State of Disaster in respect to areas in Manicaland province that were affected by Cyclone Idia, which has claimed 31 lives and displaced 200 people, most of them in Chimanimani and Chipinge.

Among the casualties were two pupils and a security officer from St Charles Lwanga High School, and 10 victims from Ngangu Township in Chimanimani, which was the most affected.

The flooded Odzi River making Chiadzwa diamond fields inaccessible

More than a 100 people are still missing.

The declaration, which also covers areas likely to be affected by the cyclone, allows the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) to support communities and provide relief.

Acting President Dr Constantino Chiwenga yesterday extended his condolences to the bereaved families.

“On behalf of Government and the nation, and on my own behalf, I wish to express my condolences to the bereaved families affected by this disaster and to wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

Dakate river in chipinge

“Given this tragic loss of life, the general devastation registered so far and the continuing torrential rains, His Excellency, the President, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, has declared a State of Disaster in respect of the affected areas or areas likely to be affected by Cyclone Idai in terms of Subsection (1) of Section 27 of the Civil Protection Act (Chapter 10:06),” he said.

Areas that currently lie in Cyclone Idai path include Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, parts of Masvingo and Midlands provinces.

Harare and Matabeleland provinces are also likely to be affected. Acting President Chiwenga said “Government is working around the clock to manage this unfolding disaster”.

Chipangayi river in chipinge

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last night commended the army and “local and international partners” for leading the rescue efforts in perilous conditions, which made it impossible to deploy helicopters and access some of the worst affected areas.

In a tweet last night, the President, who is away on an official State visit to the United Arab Emirates, wrote: “My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by Cyclone Idai. Rescue operations are underway and we are grateful for the bravery of the men and women of the Zimbabwean armed forces who, along with our local and international partners, are participating in the urgent rescue efforts.”

Yesterday, rescuers braved inclement weather conditions as they battled to reach survivors. The army also undertook a ground operation to rescue 197 pupils who were marooned at St Charles Lwanga.

Hope
There is, however, hope that the rains would soon let up as the cyclone has weakened into a tropical depression, making it possible for rescuers to get into the affected areas.

The Metrological Services Department (MSD) said it expects “a significant decline” in rains by tomorrow.

“It is now a tropical depression which is subsiding and Monday (tomorrow) should see a significant decline in precipitation across the country if this situation is maintained.

“Going forward, the depression is expected to be controlling the weather over much of the country,” said the MSD in a statement yesterday.

Cyclone Idai — which is the worst weather-related disaster to affect the country after Cyclone Eline that claimed 91 lives — made a landfall in Mozambique Thursday.

It subsequently barrelled through Manicaland resulting in torrential rains. By yesterday afternoon, the cyclone’s epicentre hovered over Rusitu Valley in Chimanimani.

The MSD reported that the rainfall at Chisengu Estate in Chimanimani, at 407 mm, broke a 37-year record of 169mm.

The Mukandi area — also in Chimanimani — recorded 203mm, breaking the record of 141mm measured in March 1976.

Other areas that received intense rainfall include: Nyanga (145mm), both Rusape and Zaka (97mm), Buhera (91mm), Wedza (86mm), Marondera (65mm) and Chisumbanje (48mm).

Chimanimani East Member of Parliament Joshua Sacco yesterday that while the CPU had mobilised helicopters, the weather conditions made it impossible to deploy them.

The demand, he said, was extensive.

“We don’t have access roads in Chimanimani at the moment,” he said.

Joint Efforts
Authorities are actively working with partners including the Red Cross Society, MSF and Mercy Corps who have provided water treatment chemicals, washing soap, mosquito nets, boots, gloves, blankets and tents.

Two Command Centres were established at Mhandarume Centre for those rescued in Chimanimani and Christine School for victims from the Rusitu area.

Acting Manicaland CPU chairperson Mr Wilson Bore said in Chipinge 67 homes were destroyed, while 20 were destroyed in Mutare district.

Electricity power lines were damaged in Mutare Urban, cutting off power supply to some areas.

“More than 200 learners and their teachers at St Charles (Lwanga), 13 Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company employees who were staying at Mawenje Lodge in Chimanimani and six villagers were marooned and are still to be rescued as the rains are still pounding the area,” said Mr Bore.

“The ZCDC employees who were staying at Mawenje Lodge had to seek refuge in a nearby mountain after Haroni River burst its banks and destroyed the lodge.

“We have tried to have helicopters from Air Force of Zimbabwe to assist them, but it is very risky to venture into the area.

“Sub-aqua personnel from Chipinge have also failed to render any assistance because of the bad weather as the roads were also damaged.”

In a statement yesterday, Zanu-PF chief whip and the party’s secretary for youth affairs, Cde Pupurai Togarepi, called on Zimbabweans to join hands and help the stricken families.

“We have learnt with sadness and deep grief the passing away of individuals whose homes have been swept away by the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai and wish to convey our heartfelt condolences over loss of life,” said Togarepi.

“We as Zanu-PF parliamentarians have decided to contribute a minimum of $100 each towards helping our brothers and sisters in the affected. Considering the damage and trial of destruction our contributions are indeed a drop in the ocean, but a good start nonetheless as we help communities in need of assistance.

The ruling party’s MPs would  be visiting the affected areas.

“Apart from cash donations legislators can also donate in kind, things like blankets, tents, drinking water and other items because the situation is desperate.

“We also call upon all Zimbabweans to contribute towards mitigating the devastating effects of this disaster in any form for that is the humane and African thing to do.”

Zanu-PF Manicaland provincial chairperson Cde Mike Madiro said there is need to intensify efforts to assist the victims.

“As Zanu-PF we are worried that the affected areas, Chimanimani and Chipinge, remain inaccessible as the cyclone has destroyed roads and bridges, thus slowing down rescue efforts. We want to urge Government to intensify efforts to rescue those who are stranded and find the missing as soon as possible to avoid more loss of lives,” said Cde Madiro.

He called on stakeholders to contribute towards assisting the affected families.

Cyclone Idai has since claimed more than 400 lives in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.

St Charles Luanga lost two students as for now when a dormitory collapsed last night.

Ngangu; Chimanimani, houses have been destroyed and quite a number have died. Some are still trapped and rescue efforts are in place.

Chimanimani District marooned by the floods and so far 15 people have been confirmed dead while 50 houses in Ngangu area were destroyed. Civil Protection Unit in a meeting in Mutare

Roman Catholic Church Mutare Diocese has confirmed death of two learners at St Charles Lwanga High School in Chimanimani. The school has been closed.

The death toll in Chimanimani has risen from 24 to 28. The acting PA Mr Boore however said all other statistics have not changed from the update he gave at 12.30 this afternoon. He said the CPU expected to have more updates as soon as they were on the ground noting that the number of deaths and those who are missing was likely to increase.

Homes in Zaka destroyed, villagers in wards 5 and 1 had roofs blown away by strong winds. Two people have been injured in Muroi in ward 5. Many bridges have been destroyed. Zaka District Administrator who is also the Civil Protection Unit chairman Mr Ndeya Nyede confirmed the reports.

In Chipinge South, thousands of families have been displaced from their homesteads as Chipangayi and Tanganda Rivers have burst their banks.

Tanganda Bridge which is located at Tanganda Vault has been swept away and reports suggest that hundreds of livestock mainly cattle and goats have been swept by the raging waters.

Our Correspondent Freedom Mutanda who is currently in Middle Sabi reports that all farm compounds that are located on lower ground have been flooded.

“Badly affected areas include Farm 28 and 29 which are in Middle Sabi as well as several sections of Maoneke Farm. Guy Menage Farm which is known as Farm 25 is also flooded.

“The water has submerged all houses in the compounds and affected families have since fled to higher ground. At Madhonora Farm, the farm owner had to dig a big trench using a Tractor Backhoe Loader to divert the floods. The method worked as trapped families were given a window period to escape and seek refuge on safe places.”

Mutanda reports that one of the farmers, Mr Didymus Nyaumwe, who owns Farm 28 in Chipangayi contacted him through a WhatsApp call seeking help to be evacuated from his farmhouse which had been submerged up to knee level.

“Up to now I don’t know if he and his family have escaped the floods but I have since made a report to the responsible authorities. His cell phone is no longer reachable,” he said.

Several fields belonging to Ratings Investments, a subsidiary of Green Fuel, have been flooded and the bulk of the sugar cane plant uprooted.

Chipinge South legislator Mr Enock Porusingazi said water levels are rising rapidly.

“It has been raining continuously for more than 24 hours now. Water levels have risen to more than 1,6 metres in some areas. If it continues raining this could be the worst cyclone ever compared to Eline. Several small bridges have been swept away. Livestock especially chickens goats and sheep have been swept into Save River.

“Some people have fled to higher ground while some have climbed trees. We are currently having a meeting on how best we can help those in need using resources we have at hand. Our biggest problems is that there is no communication here. Telephones lines were uprooted, there is now electricity and most cell phone boosters are not working. We are mobilising tractors so that we ferry food stuffs and water to families who fled their homes. Badly affected areas include Mabeye, Chinyamukwakwa and Mahenye,” he said.

Chimanimani Rural District Council chief executive Mr Nehemiah Deure says they have set up a district Civil Protection command center at Lydia Chimonyo Girls High School amid indications that the death toll has surpassed 30.

Mr Deure says another civil protection centre has since been opened at Christina Primary near Jopa turn off for victims around Rusitu and sorrounding areas. Mr Deure says helicopters can hardly fly into affected areas because of mist.

A delegation of government ministers has met with the provincial civil protection unit in Mutare and they are now on their way to Chimanimani. During the media briefing Minister July Moyo, who is chairing the delegation, only said they would give full detail of government response later today after their tour.

 

Member of the House of Assembly for Chimanimani West, who has been holed up in Biriiri area since Thursday, told The Manica Post that rains have stopped in the area but three more bodies have been discovered in the area this morning.

 

The Ministerial delegation stuck at Mvumvumvu River bridge towards Nedziwa where there is the district Command Centre.

Chipinge Civil Protection Committee has dispatched five vehicles today to assess the extent of damages across the district.

  • The vehicles have been deployed as follows:
  • Team 1-Red Cross-Chibuwe, Tongogara RC and Chipangayi.
  • Team 2-Plan International-Musirizwi, Daisy Hill and Mt Selinda
  • Team 3-IRC-Southdowns, Tamandayi and Clearwaters
  • Team 4-Goal Zim- Ngaone, Mutema and Tongogara RC
  • Team 5-World Vision-Manzvire and Gumira

The teams request for cooperation among various stakeholders and communities as they undertake this important exercise which will result in the necessary interventions being implemented. Local leaders are implored to render necessary support to the teams.

In Chiredzi the District Administrator Mr Lovemore Chisema said they have managed to attend to nearly all areas in which villagers raised alarm. From the visits they established that no houses were destroyed while no lives were lost in Chiredzi. The rains stopped early in the morning. The rains however made some roads impassable especially in Chiredzi North and Chiredzi South Constituencies. Public transport operators such as Chiwara failed to service their routes today.

Jack Quinton bridge

Masvingo PA Mr Fungai Mbetsa confirmed two children have died in Bikita while 90 families were left homeless, 34 in Gutu, 50 in Zaka and 6 in Bikita. He said a number of bridges in Zaka and Bikita were destroyed

 

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