Cletus Mushanawani in Chimanimani
THE Cyclone Idai rescue mission has finally reached some parts of Chimanimani where some of the marooned people were rescued, while 1 000 refugees from Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge South were evacuated to a farm in Middle Sabi.
The laborious mission has been met with many challenges as some sections of the roads are continuously giving in, making all the efforts precarious.
Some of the people are enduring distances of about 20km to reach accessible areas.
Roman Catholic Church’s Mutare Diocese education secretary Mr Lawrence Chibvuri said all the learners at St Charles Lwanga Secondary School were rescued by Zimbabwe National Army details from Skyline where they had managed to walk to.
The learners had been marooned at the school since Friday night after a landslide destroyed a dining room and dormitory, resulting in the death of three people.
“We want to thank the ZNA for rescuing the children as well as carrying the bodies to Chipinge District Hospital mortuary.
“One of the late learners is from Marondera and will be buried there tomorrow (today).
“As the responsible authority, we are meeting the funeral expenses.
“We dispatched buses from sister schools to help ferry the children from Chipinge where they had been temporarily housed.
“We have also urged the school authorities to alert the learners’ parents through social media for them to collect their children in Rusape, Marondera and Harare,” he said.
Mr Chibvuri said they expect the school to be opened in May and efforts were being made to repair the damaged infrastructure.
Some parents of the affected children hailed the ZNA for bringing their children to safety.
“We are here to receive our children. We went through a traumatising ordeal since Saturday as we were not sure about the safety of children.
“We want to thank the ZNA, Roman Catholic Church as well as teachers at the school for going out of their way to ensure the safety of our children,” said Mr Ronald Makeleni who has been in Mutare since Saturday morning.
Another parent, Mrs Tariro Mucharambeyi, said: “My child is asthmatic and I feared the worst, but thanks to the caring staff members at the school, I am now being reunited with him.”
In Chipinge, district administrator Mr William Mashava said the water levels in most rivers was subsidising.
He said power supplies had been restored in some areas of the district.
“We deployed teams in various parts of the district for assessment.
“Most of the houses that were destroyed were in upper Chipinge. The most affected had poor workmanship, while some of the six recorded deaths were avoidable as some people tried to cross flooded rivers. This is despite awareness campaigns where people are discouraged from crossing flooded rivers,” he said.
Mr Mashava said Ndunduma area was still cut off from the rest of the district after the recently commissioned Bakate Bridge was swept away by the floods.
He called for caution among all road users, saying some of the areas were still risky to venture into.