Zimbabwe, Mozambique mourn victims of Cyclone Idai

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Zimbabwe began two days of national mourning on Saturday in remembrance of the victims of Cyclone Idai which induced floods ravaging the eastern and southern parts of the country last weekend.

The Civil Protection Unit said that as of Friday night, the death toll from Idai in Zimbabwe had risen to 154 with 187 still missing. 162 people were injured while 136 were marooned.

The worst affected areas include Chipinge and Chimanimani districts in Manicaland Province, where almost entire villages were swept away in some cases.

In Mozambique, the government declared three days of national mourning starting Wednesday for the victims of Idai, which hit the country's central coastal region with devastating storms and floods starting from last Thursday.

The death toll caused by Idai in central Mozambique rose to 417, Minister of Land and Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, said on Saturday.

Correia told reporters that the numbers are expected to rise as the disaster-hit area was of 3 000 square kilometres.

"There is a very large impact on the affected areas, and through drones we have been receiving preliminary data, and unfortunately we now have 417 deaths and 1528 injured," said Correia.

The Minister said that some 89 000 people are in shelters, and more are being rescued and evacuated from besieged areas.

In Malawi, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services said Idai also affected the landlocked southern African country.

Statistics indicated that one person died in the Nsanje district with about 68 000 people affected in the country.

As rescue and search efforts continue, donations of relief supplies to the victims are pouring in from local people, companies, regional governments and international aid agencies.

The China International Development Cooperation Agency on Thursday said that China will provide humanitarian assistance to cyclone-hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The Agency said the Chinese side expresses condolences to the affected people and is ready to offer a hand for the reconstruction work in the cyclone-stricken countries according to the needs of the affected areas.

Chinese government has decided to donate 800 000 U.S. dollars in cash as emergency humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe to help the country with its disaster relief work, the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Guo Shaochun, announced Friday.

The United States, the United Nations and the European Union have also contributed with donations to the affected countries.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has urged South Africans to make donations for flood relief in neighbouring countries battered by Tropical Cyclone Idai.

Sisulu appealed to South African NGOs, companies and individuals to make donations towards humanitarian aid for the affected countries.

“The Minister has, on behalf of the people of South Africa, sent a message of condolence to the people of Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and wished those in hospital speedy recovery,” the department said.

“We have directed all our Embassies and Diplomats to continue to work with the three countries to assess the damage. We have this afternoon received reports from our Missions and our teams on the ground who are working with authorities. What is urgent now is the provision of humanitarian aid,” Sisulu said in the statement.

The department has urged South Africans affected by the floods to contact the Embassies or call the 24-hour DIRCO call centre on 012 351 1000.

Companies, NGOs and individuals who are able to assist are requested to contact:

  • Matheko Rametsi RametsiMU@dirco.gov.za on +27 81 037 2765
  • Surprise Malehase MalehaseS@dirco.gov.za on +27 83 700 7946