HARARE – Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared two days of national mourning, as he announced Thursday the death toll cause by Cyclone Idai had risen to ‘numerous hundreds”.
Mnangagwa told a media briefing Thursday night that the number of deaths had reached hundreds, hence the need for two days of national mourning and prayer to remember the victims of the cyclone.
“We expect all citizens, both individually and collectively, and in different ways which are informed by their faiths, beliefs and cultures to remember our entire dear departed by way of prayers and in whatever other forms and practices,” stated Mr Mnangagwa.
Chimanimani district and some parts of Chipinge, near the border with equally-ravaged Mozambique, bore the brunt of Cyclone Idai and have been cut off from the rest of the country, as rescue teams continued their search for other hundreds of missing people.
“As we now know, we have lost many citizens with the human toll set to reach several hundreds,” added the Zimbabwean President, who on Wednesday was met with horrific accounts of “many who continue to grieve the loss of loved ones, and are living in the hope of recovering their remains” as he visited the affected areas.
“In Risutu, I saw with unmitigated disrepair big boulders recklessly strewn on what used to be a resettlement, a banana market and even a police post. In respect of the latter, both the serving officer and prisoner were washed away alongside other government structure and private residences. The resettlement was completely washed away and the remains of the occupants uncounted for to this day,” he said.
The president said from tomorrow, citizens will take time to remember the victims of the cyclone which also ravaged in Malawi and Mozambique and left many dead and property destroyed.
He said while the search of the missing people continues, his administration would focus on provision of decently buries of any bodies or remains.
We shall ensure adequate food relief to affected families and communities between now and the next harvest. We shall provide free medical services to those affected by the cyclone, provide temporary shelter to victims of the cyclone, ensure safe clean water supply to affected communities,” Mnangagwa said.