Daniel Mhonda Mutare Correspondent
RELIEF operations to assist people who have been affected by Cyclone Idai are progressing well with more aid continuing to pour from various organisations and individuals.
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing July Moyo told journalists in Mutare yesterday that there were enough aircraft to deliver food and other forms of aid to the cyclone victims.
He also thanked organisations and individuals who have donated various goods and services towards the disaster.
“So far we have been given enough aircraft to airlift food, medicines and other logistics to different areas where we could not reach lately because of the destroyed road network.
“We also gave 4 000 litres of fuel to ensure there are no shortages on the transport logistics and people who are being helped.
“We will be doing everything we can to see that everything can be put back in order,” he said. Minister Moyo also dismissed claims that people were being buried in mass graves in Chimanimani.
“With the amount of efforts and logistics that have been put forward by the people and with so much land there is no way we can give such a directive to bury people in mass graves. Under normal circumstances, where people are buried in mass graves you would have to send an excavator to dig the graves but in this case, we have people who are digging actual graves for the victims so that they can be buried properly,” said Minister Moyo.
Minister Moyo appealed to members of the public to notify authorities of any cyclone victims’ burials.
Manicaland Provincial Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said:
“As Manicaland we are very saddened by these disasters which befell us. But we are finding comfort from Zimbabweans and everyone who has extended their helping hands to us. Donations are still coming, showing unity amongst our people and this has reduced the burden,” she said.
Dr Gwaradzimba thanked chiefs from other provinces who committed their time to be in Manicaland during the trying times.
On Friday Seed Co donated 60 tonnes of maize meal while Quton weighed in with 200 blankets and $15 000 worth of groceries.
Meanwhile, Minister Moyo says proper planning is required when rebuilding areas that have been ravaged by Cyclone Idai with priority being given to refurbishment of schools.
He said this yesterday while responding to construction company Enhanced Mortgaging and Housing (EMH) Africa company’s gesture to assist by building houses for families and school classroom blocks in the areas affected.
He said most schools were affected in Chimanimani with St Charles Lwanga, where two students died, having been the worst affected, so far, as information is still being gathered.
“This is a good gesture but considering the situation now, I would prefer that you give priority to building schools,” he said.
“We have committees of building that include public works who would help in schools. There are those in State roads with departments like District Development Fund (DDF).
“These would assist in building but we have schools like the Catholic school — St Charles Lwanga — where there is no dining hall. There is need for such services there. That school is a priority and you can go and choose what you can do. We need our children to get back to school,” he said.
St Charles Lwanga was formally closed following the disaster.
Minister Moyo said there was also another school at Kopa, Rusitu, where the headmaster and 39 students are reportedly missing.
“I cannot say go to Ngangu because it was totally destroyed. It needs proper replanning. We cannot allow people to get back there since it was at the middle of a stream path. This is why the President is condemning some places where people are settling,” he said. EMH operating director Mr Felix Musewu said his company was prepared to build for free nearly 20 houses for affected families and help in the construction of school blocks.
“We found it befitting to assist by building houses for families that were affected by Cyclone Idai. With your blessings, Minister, we are prepared to start as soon as today. All we want is the greenlight to do so from your esteemed office,” he said.
EMH Africa, through its brand ambassador and musician Alick Macheso, handed over goods worth $15 000 towards assisting cyclone victims.