Cyclone Idai: Zimbabwe recovers 145 bodies

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As Zimbabwe prepares for two days of mourning in the wake of the devastating Cyclone Idai, rescue workers said on Friday that they had recovered 145 bodies from a town in Zimbabwe.

“The actual number of the death toll remains unknown, but we have recovered 145 bodies in Chimanimani alone,’’ Zimbabwe Army Public Relations Officer Exavier Chibasa told a local medium.

Thousands more were feared dead after massive flooding.

Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on Thursday declared two days of mourning at the weekend, saying that the death toll will likely reach several hundred as the search for more bodies continue.

“We expect all our citizens, both individually and collectively, and in different ways which are informed by their faiths, beliefs and cultures, to remember all our dear departed by way of prayers and in whatever other forms and practices,’’ Mnangagwa said.

Local Government Minister, July Moyo, said some bodies swept away by the cyclone have been washed away to the Mozambique side of the border.

“Authorities from Mozambique have alerted us of bodies floating on their side and we have sent our teams to recover them,’’ Acting Information Minister, Sekai Nzenza said.

He further said that the cyclone was so severe that an entire township was buried in huge boulders.

Nzenza said 30 pupils and two headmasters were among the people who were missing following the floods.

Thousands more are meanwhile believed to have fallen victim in neighbouring Mozambique where flooding caused by the massive cyclone left a 125-kilometre lake in an area where hundreds of thousands of people live.

Cyclone Idai, a Category 4 storm, could be one of the biggest cyclone disasters south of the equator, according to the World Meteorological Organisation, and had brought devastation to several countries in the region.

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