By Norma Tsopo
MUTARE – Government had not anticipated the level of destruction that was wroth by tropical Cyclone Idai – a category three storm that dumped record rainfalls which triggered landslides and floods that killed over 300 people and displaced thousands.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Manicaland Ellen Gwaradzimba made the acknowledgement as she met EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen and UN Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli at her office in Mutare Wednesday.
She said no previous cyclone had prepared the southern African country to Idai’s destruction.
“Indeed before Cyclone Idai Zimbabwe had experienced other cyclones like Cyclone Eline, Deneo, Japhet in the past but this cyclone is one of its kind. We had not anticipated that it was going to come with the devastating effects that it came with,” Gwaradzimba said.
Hitting areas that are accustomed to high rainfalls and that had experienced cyclones before the country’s eastern highlands – particularly Chimanimani locals were confident that they would survive it without issue.
With over 600 mm of rain being dumped in 48 hours in the mountainous landscape the cyclone exposed the region’s poor settlement patterns after landslides crushed huge sections of Ngangu high density suburb and floods wept away Peacock business centre and buried and washed away an entire growth point – Dzingire, popularly known as Copper.
The minister however said the only consolation the nation had been the level of unity that has been demonstrated in the face of the country’s worst natural disaster in recorded history.
“Nevertheless we have responded by organising ourselves through establishing some subcommittees to look into various areas of operation. The response that we got from the international community and the locals is overwhelming.
“Zimbabweans, I didn’t want to say for the first time, have demonstrated that unity of purpose to a very great magnitude that has never been seen before,” Gwaradzimba said.