Felex Share Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday ensured that the Cabinet meeting he chaired placed its primary focus on the Cyclone Idai disaster which left 104 people dead, while businesses, homes and schools were destroyed.
Soon after chairing the Cabinet meeting, the Head of State and Government headed for Manicaland Province, the epicentre of the cyclone, to supervise rescue and relief efforts.
The cyclone, which also hit Malawi and Mozambique, left a trail of destruction and caused deaths in Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo, who has been on the ground since the weekend, apprised Cabinet of the situation.
He dispelled reports that the deceased had been buried in mass graves.
“The mortuary in Chimanimani had no electricity and together with the other people, the bereaved were able to bury their loved ones,” he said.
“They were communicating with us. We had heard that they were going to bury them in mass graves and even parliamentarians were asking me questions thinking that we had buried people in mass graves. We heard about it and I gave instructions that nobody gets buried in a mass grave. The youths were mobilised there to dig graves and we are able to find somebody who gave us coffins. What happened is that a mother was buried together with the child. To me that could have only been the decision of the family not us as Government because we discourage people being buried in mass graves.”
He said those who could not take their loves ones to their home areas buried them in Chimanimani urban centre.
Minister Moyo said there was a possibility that some bodies of people from the Rusitu area could have floated all the way into Mozambique.
“At Rusitu there are two rivers which converge and they all burst and we understand there are bodies that floated and some all the way into Mozambique,” he said.
“Peasants in Mozambique were calling our people to say we see bodies and we believe they are coming from Zimbabwe. The total number we were told could be 100 with some going as far as saying they could be 300. We cannot confirm this situation.”
He said rescue efforts were continuing while aid was now reaching some areas which not accessible in the past days because of the cyclone.
Meanwhile, Cabinet received a report back from Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira on Zimbabwe’s recent participation at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Germany.
Zimbabwe won two prestigious awards from the Pacific Travel Writers’ Association Awards (PATWA).
Zimbabwe won the Sustainable Destination of the Year Award, while Minister Mupfumira scooped the Tourism Minister of Year Award (Africa).