Police keep a close watch as a grader clears the road in Chimanimani, Zimbwabwe.  According to the government, cyclone Idai has killed more than 80 people, although residents say the figure could be higher.
Police keep a close watch as a grader clears the road in Chimanimani, Zimbwabwe. According to the government, cyclone Idai has killed more than 80 people, although residents say the figure could be higher.

'Cyclone Idai is a real disaster of great proportions'

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 21, 2019

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South Africans are offering their support to grief-stricken Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique after being struck by cyclone Idai.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has called the situation “a real disaster of great proportions”, saying the estimated death toll was up to 1 000 people.

Disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers has sent rescue teams to assist with relief efforts.

Organisation founder Imtiaz Sooliman said that when the team arrived in Beira on Monday evening, the airport was completely destroyed.

His team were on the ground to see what needed to be done.

People wait in a queue to receive food supplies from soldiers in Chimanimani, about 600km south-east of Harare. Picture: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi AP

“Our intervention includes 70 personnel (aquatic rescue, rescue technicians, rescue divers, advanced life support paramedics and doctors), 22 vehicles, 10 power boats, four jetskis, 14 inflatable, non-motorised two-man rescue boats, a range of rescue equipment and access to an eight-seater plane. This is Gift of the Givers' largest water rescue preparation in its 26-year history. We assisted Mozambique in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2013,” Sooliman said.

The Gatesville Mosque said it was hosting a fundraising drive for victims of the devastating cyclone.

“The collection will be made during Friday prayers this and next week. By arrangement with Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, all funds will be channelled to the victims via the relief agency Gift of the Givers. For any enquiries call 084 258 8786,” the mosque said.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also has staff in all three countries, and said cyclone Idai hit the coastal town of Beira with winds of up to 200km/* . It has since wreaked extreme devastation along the central coastline of Sofala, Zambézia and Inhambane provinces.

Soldier distribute food to victims of the cyclone.

As Idai moved towards Zimbabwe, it hit Chimanimani, a small district of about 30 000 people in Manicaland province, MSF said.

Thereafter, extremely heavy rains in the lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje, Malawi, caused severe flooding.

“MSF is also supporting Makhanga health centre with supplies, cleaning, human resources, along with strengthened surveillance and referral systems, along with outreach clinics and health promotion activities in the evacuation centres.

“Water and sanitation activities and distributions of non-food-item kits are being planned to affected households,” the organisation said.

The Star

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