President Mnangagwa declares cyclone tragedy state of disaster

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared the impact of Cyclone Idai a state of disaster.

More than 30 people are reported to have been killed by the storm, with over 100 others still missing.

Areas within the pathway of Cyclone Idai’s weather system include Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, and parts of Masvingo and Midlands provinces, according to the Metrological Services Department.

Chimanimani and Chipinge districts have been hardest-hit, with riverine and flash flooding reported. The town of Chimanimani was reportedly cut off after bridges across Mvumvumvu River (Matsororo and Muusha bridges) along the Mutare-Chimanimani Highway were washed away and other sections of road were blocked by fallen trees and landslides. Power supply in many areas is affected.

There are fears that the death toll could rise as the missing persons are accounted for.

According to authorities, at least 1,600 households (8,000 to 9,600 people) have been affected in Chimanimani, Chipinge, Nyanga and Mutare districts, Manicaland Province, as a result of flooding and landslides.

Vice president Constantino Chiwenga said the government would do all in its powers to manage the unfolding disaster.

“The national and sub-national civil protection structures are to undertake the following priority actions; supporting the affected communities by giving urgency to search, rescue and evacuate the marooned and cut off areas; conduct rapid results needs assessment and render relief accordingly; continue monitoring the situation and advise on a comprehensive management strategy to holistically address the disaster,” he said.