The official death toll from Cyclone Idai has hit 139 in Zimbabwe, with fears that the figure could rise, as close to 200 people remain unaccounted for and over 100 are still marooned in the country’s two worst affected districts, Chipinge and Chimanimani.
Idai, which formed over the Mozambique Channel before moving inland via Beira on Thursday last week, has sparked a serious humanitarian crisis, as 4 313 people have been displaced, according to the ministry.
Local government and national housing minister July Moyo, who heads the inter-ministerial task force on Idai says there are reports that bodies believed to be from Zimbabwe have been seen floating in Mozambique.
"Some have floated all the way into Mozambique and some of the peasants in that country were calling some of our people saying ‘we see bodies, we believe those bodies are coming from Zimbabwe’".
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday visited the victims and said it was impossible for aid to reach the affected because of the massive destruction of the provincial road network.
He said the cyclone destroyed roads in this area and this means that aid can only come through using helicopters, but we have not been able to do so because of the weather.
However, Zimbabwe’s leading funeral insurance companies - Doves and Nyaradzo Funeral Services - have since chipped in to offer decent burials for the dead.
Across the border in Mozambique, according to the Red Cross, the cyclone destroyed 90% of the fourth-largest city, Beira, and submerged villages after the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed. The death toll is expected to climb to 1 000.
- African News Agency (ANA)