Nesia Mhaka Herald Correspondent
President Mnangagwa yesterday presented the Master of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit Award and the Bronze Cross of the Zimbabwe Medal to the Zimbabwe Defence Force for their response to the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai early this year.
In the citation, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said ZDF played a pivotal role in assisting the victims of Cyclone Idai disaster.
“You are aware of the unimaginable destruction that Cyclone Idai caused in parts of Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo Provinces. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces played a pivotal role in assisting the victims of this traumatising and horrible experience.
“We therefore unanimously decided to honour those that selflessly and bravely conducted themselves during Cyclone Idai operations,” she said.
She said the awards were for the soldier’s response to Statutory Instruments 676 and 677 of 1981.
“The honour of the Commendation Medals in terms of Section 3 of sub-section 2 of Warrant 5 of 1981 as published in Statutory Instrument 676 of 1981, which state that ‘The Commendation Medal may be awarded to any person for a commendable act of bravery, service or continuous devotion to duty which deserves recognition.
“Section 4 sub-section 1 of the same Warrant states that, ‘The medal shall be awarded on the authority of the President, upon the recommendation of the appropriate head of department.
“The honour of the Bronze Cross of Zimbabwe Medal in terms of Section 4 Sub-section 1(c) of Warrant 6 of 1981 as published in Statutory Instrument 677 of 1981, which states that, ‘an award may be granted to any person for an act of bravery in hazardous circumstances, in which case the appropriate Award shall be the Bronze Cross,” she said.
She added during the Cyclone Idai disaster troops from 3 Infantry Brigade in Mutare and troops from 33 Reserve Force Battalion in Chipinge played major roles in assisting the victims.
She said the troops displayed bravery, selflessness, dedication to duty and humanity.
“On receipt of the news of the calamity in Chimanimani, 3 Infantry Brigade, Brigadier-General Joe Muzvidziwa immediately deployed two teams, one from 3 Infantry Brigade in Mutare and the other from 33 Reserve Force Battalion in Chipinge. The two teams formed the advance party for the brigade’s deployment in Chimanimani.
“The troops managed to physically clear access routes from Jopa up to Skyline using basic hand tools. Commander 3 Infantry Brigade who had now set up a Tactical Headquarters at Skyline, realised the need to quickly access the marooned community in order to assess the situation and give reassurance.
“Thus, sixteen (16) members from 33 Reserve Force Battalion were the first to ford the flooded Nyahonde River to Ngangu Village to offer assistance to affected villagers,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She said members of the Parachute Regiment, Zimbabwe National Army and Air Force of Zimbabwe assisted the victims in different ways.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri added that the AFZ also flew 125 hours over 61 days on rescue missions.