Friday, 22 March 2019


THE effects of the harrowing Cyclone Idai will forever be etched in the memories of traumatised villagers in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts while the devastating impact on the environment and infrastructure is testimony to the brute force of the natural phenomenon.

More than 100 people were killed, many displaced or marooned while hundreds more are still missing in the aftermath of the cyclone that came with its gusty winds and heavy continuous down pour.

The whereabouts of some of the victims still remain unknown after they were either buried in the mud during the ensuing landslides or were swept down the flooded rivers.

Survivors are in grief and their accounts unravel the sheer destructive character of some of nature’s weather trends.

The Manica Post interviewed some of the survivors who gave an account of what befell them.

Mrs Grace Satiya (59) of Ward 16 in Chimanimani said she first heard an unusual sound which she believed was an earthquake.

She lost her child, Agreement Mungana and uncle, Laison Mungana, in the cyclone.

“In a flash I heard the sounds of water flowing from the mountains down into Nyapana River,” she said. 

“I then raised alarm in a bid to alert other people who were in the house. At that moment my uncle moved out from one of the huts in a bid to save my child who was asleep in another hut. Unfortunately, he was swept away before he even reached the other hut where my child was. The huts collapsed. My child and uncle were then swept away,” she said.

Mrs Satiya said after a while she then began searching for her child and uncle along the banks of Nyapana River.

During the search they spotted one of the gumboots which Laison was wearing, trapped between stones.

“We later found him buried between boulders and sand. Up to now we have not yet found my child. We have exhausted all our efforts and chances of finding him are now next to none,” she said.

Mr Edison Hurukayi (71) of Sabumba Village, said he was left with nothing after the cyclone.

He said he lost his daughter and son in-law together with their three children after their house was swept away in Copper, Rusitu on Friday night. 

“This is the most painful period of my life. I do not know how to explain this to you. I lost everything. I mean everything. As we speak my daughter, Jane Hurukayi, her husband Francis Mapungwana and their three children Tinotenda, Tavongwa and Mazvita are missing. They were swept away at their home in Copper, Rusitu on Friday,” he said.

Mr Hurukayi said his daughter was a teacher at Dzingire Primary School while her husband was also a teacher at Nyabamba Secondary School.

Their children were doing grade one, three and six in the same neighbourhood.

“Two of their children survived only because one is doing Form Two at Biriiri High School and the other one was in Mutare. The one who is at boarding school is not aware that his parents and other siblings were swept and are missing,” he said.

Mr Hurukayi said he was also left homeless after his houses were destroyed by the cyclone in Sabumba village.

“We do not have a place to stay as our houses were also destroyed by cyclone. All my cattle and other domestic animals were either swept away or they were displaced, no one knows,” he said.

Mr Hurukayi believes his daughter’s family could have been swept into Mozambique as they were staying close to where Haroni and Rusitu rivers meet.

“But our hopes of finding their bodies have already faded away,” he said. 

Gogo Violet Nyamadzawo (73) who lives near St Charles Lwanga Secondary School, could hardly hold back her tears as she gave an account of how she walked to safety.

She said she had to endure the mountainous terrain to earn her safety.

“Considering my age, I had to walk for nearly nine hours to get to a safer place. I was lucky to be alive but as we speak some of my relatives were adversely affected by the cyclone. I do not know how to reconcile the events that unfolded but all is gone. I am told that their bodies were found in Mozambique where a certain chief is said to have buried them. It means we will not be able to identify them,” she said.

Mr John Murandu (36) of Ngangu is yet to come to terms with how he survived.

He said he was not aware of the whereabouts of his fellow tenants after being displaced by the cyclone.

“It is all by God’s grace that I am still alive today following this disaster. We first heard a loud sound and within a moment water started entering into our house. 

“We then went outside and we discovered that some of the houses had actually collapsed. I think the noise was coming from the collapsing houses,” he said.

Mr Murandu said after some moments he found himself between an avalanche of stones, trees and other things which were being carried by the strong winds and heavy down pour.

“I do not know where others went. During that time, I started walking towards the tarred road where I met other people whom I joined. We walked along the road but we never went far away. The winds later subside but the rains continued,” he said. Manica Post


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