At Least 31 Dead As Cyclone Idai Hits Eastern Zimbabwe

At least 31 people have been killed and dozens are missing as tropical cyclone Idai hit eastern parts of Zimbabwe after lashing neighbouring Mozambique, the government said on Saturday.

Most of the deaths were in Chimanimani town, Zimbabwe’s information ministry announced on Twitter.

Two of the victims were students who died after a landslide sent a boulder crashing into their dormitory, collapsing the wall of the dining room and trapping 50 of them, the country’s Department of  Civil Protection (DCP) said in a statement.

The boarding school has been shut and the army, which is leading rescue operations, is moving in to take the nearly 200 students to safety.

“So far a total of 71 people are reported missing,” said the DCP.

The boarding school has been shut and the army, which is leading rescue operations, is moving in to take the nearly 200 students to safety.

“So far a total of 71 people are reported missing,” said the DCP.

Others who had fled their homes were stranded on top of a mountain waiting to be rescued, including workers from a diamond mine, as strong winds and poor visibility hampered helicopter flights, the government said.

The storm damaged many houses and washed away bridges in the eastern Manicaland province which borders Mozambique. Thousands of people have been affected by power cuts and flooding, a lawmaker told AFP.

Earlier Saturday, Joshua Sacco, an MP in Chimanimani district, told AFP that more than 100 people were missing. Around 100 houses had been swept away in Ngangu township in Chimanimani town, he said.

Strong winds ripped roofs off prison cells in the southern city of Masvingo, according to state broadcaster ZBC.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change called for immediate help for the storm-hit east, warning that a “serious humanitarian crisis” was unfolding.

“we need state intervention on a massive scale to avoid biblical disaster,” MDC spokesman Jacob Mafume wrote on Twitter.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is currently on a visit to Abu Dhabi, has declared a state of disaster in the affected areas.

“My thoughts & prayers are with all those affected by Cyclone Idai. Rescue operations are underway & we are grateful for the bravery of the men & women of the Zimbabwean armed forces who, along with our local & international partners, are participating in the urgent rescue efforts,” he tweeted.

Leave a Reply