The Sunday Mail
Nyore Madzianike in Mutare
Government continues to make frantic efforts to open several access roads to all areas that have been rendered inaccessible by the Cyclone Idai induced rains, whose destructive force severely hit Chipinge and Chimanimani.
A Government-led search and rescue mission, in the worst affected areas in Manicaland province enters day eight today.
One of the several Cabinet ministers stationed in Manicaland province and directing operations, yesterday underscored that all avenues will be explored to reach survivors, while affording the dead a decent burial.
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing July Moyo said Government was also getting assistance from private companies in clearing and creating roads to ‘get to the victims’.
The task to continue the search and rescue mission is despite that some townships and centres in Chimanimani have been reduced to ‘ground zero’, with Rusitu valley now occupied by huge boulders and sand that were dragged from adjacent mountains.
Speaking in Mutare yesterday after receiving a donation of various goods worth $400 000 from Inscor Africa, Minister Moyo said; “Our teams are making efforts to open roads.
“Areas like Biriwiri are still not accessible even from Nyanyadzi. All the bridges were damaged from Wengezi to Nhedziwa and Biriwiri.
“We want to reach all areas that are in dire need like Ngangu and Rusitu.
“The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development is working with private companies like GreenFuel, Masimba Holdings and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company to open new roads.”
Minister Moyo said an entire township and its amenities including a police station, schools, business centre and Government offices was swept away, a scary confirmation that the death toll in the area could be higher than the current estimations.
“At first, we were saying we were missing 147 people, now it is turning out that we are missing people whose 147 houses have been destroyed. So it is no longer people, but households which have been destroyed.
“In Rusitu (Valley), we had a police camp which was wiped out, we had Agritex officers who were housed there. We had some schools there.
“We had a school where we lost three teachers, the headmaster and 39 pupils. These are the areas where we frantically want to reach, but there are many others,” Minister Moyo said.
He said Machongwe area was in dire need of food including another township that was completely wiped out and the survivors are still to be counted.
“We also understand that there were miners and we cannot accurately tell the number of those who perished there. The villagers are not able to identify those who were doing gold mining in the area.”
Minister Moyo said besides Chimanimani, other areas that were in need of assistance include Buhera, Gutu, Bikita, Zaka, Mvuma and Chirumhanzu,” said Minister Moyo.
Bakers Inn chief executive officer, Mr Ngoni Mazango who was representing Inscor Africa Group of Companies chairman, Mr Eddington Chinake, said: “We have nine 30-tonne trucks containing goods we are donating today (yesterday).
“These include 100 tonnes of maize-meal, 10 000 loaves, 12 tonnes of salt, 200 blankets, two accommodation tents, canned meat, 2 000 crates of eggs which we can always add if needs be, one tonne of butter, one tonne of jam, 300 litres of milk, four tonnes of rice, 1 900 litres of soft drinks, 1 050 hampers with floor, rice cooking oil, candles, soap and soft drinks. The total value of the donation is $400 000.
“We heard stories of people losing lives and houses being destroyed. They are in dire need of social support services and that is why we are here.”
A Harare-based housing and construction company, Enhanced Mortgage and Housing Africa, has pledged to rebuild St Charles Lwanga Secondary School dining hall as well as 20 houses for the affected families in Chimanimani.
EMH Africa has also pledged to build classroom blocks at affected schools in Chipinge and Chimanimani.
Speaking during the handover of goods worth $15 000 through their brand ambassador and sungura ace, Alick Macheso, EMH Africa operating director, Mr Felix Musewu, said: “We found it befitting to assist by building houses of affected families.
“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.
Tropical Cyclone Idai induced rains affected mostly Chimanimani and Chipinge in Zimbabwe whilst indications are that 90 percent of the port city of Maputo in Mozambique has been destroyed.
The rains also devastated parts of Malawi.