Cyclone Idai death toll rises

Angry Umvumvumvu River washed way a major bridge on the Mutare-Chimanimani highway

By Norma Tsopo

Deadly Tropical Cyclone Idai’s death toll in Chimanimani has risen to over 82 with more than 150 people still missing by Sunday.

Local Government Minister July Moyo who also chairs the cabinet committee of civil protection announced the increase in the number of death during a tour of Chimanimani and Chipinge.

Land slide razed five streets in Chimanimani town

“The death toll has now risen from 31 to 64 with many others still missing…some of the bodies were seen floating in rivers and others are still trapped in collapsed building,” Moyo said adding that they still had hope that some of the missing will be found alive.

An entire growth point at the confluence of Nyahode and Rusitu Rivers – Copper, was completely submerged under water according to the local Member of Parliament Joshua Sacco.

This was the worst affected part of the country, he said.

In Chimanimani town five streets were knocked over by a massive landslide after the mountain that was above its Ngangu Old Location high density suburb was soaked wet by the incessant rains.

Although Cyclone Idai has weakened considerably since it made landfall through central Mozambique north of Beira it brought unprecedented rains in the eastern highlands where it broke rainfall records that had been standing for over three decades.

While tens of people died from floods many more died due to unforeseen landslides and rock falls as Chimanimani recorded rainfalls over 400 mm in 24 hour periods for days.

No meaningful assistance has been deployed to affected communities with bridges being washed out and communication being cut off by the violent storm.

Infrastructural damage will run into millions of dollars with more bridges being swept away with the most recent being Umvumvumvu Bridge before Matsororo on the Mutare-Chimanimani highway which was swept away even after the river had significantly subsided.

Angry Umvumvumvu River washed way a major bridge on the Mutare-Chimanimani highway