Toll in Zimbabwe cyclone-induced floods reaches 98

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Harare, March 19 (IANS) The death toll in tropical cyclone Idai-induced floods in Zimbabwe has risen to 98 with 217 missing, the government has said.

The Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services said in a tweet that as of late Monday afternoon, the number of injured people was 102 while 42 were marooned, reported Xinhua news agency.

The government on Monday released $50 million for emergency relief and infrastructure restoration after the cyclone, which hit the country from neighbouring Mozambique on Friday, caused severe damage in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces.

The most severely affected area is Chimanimani district where most of the deaths have occurred, followed by Chipinge district in Manicaland.

Roads and bridges were severely damaged while thousands of people were left homeless after their homes collapsed in the driving rain and floods.

The government has declared the floods a state of disaster and has launched an international appeal for assistance.

In an address to the nation on Monday night, Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa said there were fears that more people could still be buried under the debris.

He said no efforts or resources would be spared to help those in distress.

“Government is doing all it can to reach all lives that can still be saved and to bring succour to families and communities fast running out of necessities, including food, medicines and shelter. Units of our Defence Forces have now accessed Chimanimani town where they have begun working with different arms of Government already active on the ground.

“The blocked roads have to be reopened so food, safe water and medicines reach people who have congregated around hotels, churches, schools, community centres and other makeshift safe gathering points. This is an effort which is now underway,” he said.

–IANS

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