Chimanimani: A community in distress after Cyclone Idai

Communities living in Chimanimani district, in the mountainous province of Manicaland, Zimbabwe, are slowly coming to terms with the havoc wreaked by Cyclone Idai,

 which resulted in the deaths of more than 169 people in the area.

Few will forget the night of 15 March 2019, when winds of 200 kilometres/hour tore through the valley, bringing such heavy rains that rivers and their tributaries burst their banks, and landslides washed entire houses away. Each person in the community has a different story to tell. Heavy rock falls caused some people to experience what felt like an earthquake. Others heard sounds like heavy trucks moving.

A community in shock

Their stories speak of a community that is still in deep shock.  In these small communities, almost everyone knows each other, and everyone has been affected. Children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, neighbours, or whole families have been lost.  Many have relatives and colleagues who have still not been found. More than 328 people are reportedly missing, and 11,255 people have been displaced in Chimanimani.

Some village members have spent days digging, trying to recover the remains of loved ones buried under boulders. A smell detected or flies lingering are signs of a possible dead body underneath; some bodies have been retrieved using this cruel tactic.

This catastrophe, the first of its kind to be experienced in the area, left a trail of destruction in the community and changed the lives of many in an instant. In some communities, houses, shops and factories were completely destroyed, and all that remains are rocks and wood. Many lost everything including food, shelter, clothing and their sources of livelihood. Lifesaving medication, for chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, washed away. Read full article here

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