…as the effects of cyclone Idai unfolds
Zimbabweans have described as lies and dishonesties government’s handling of issues following the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.
People charge that there has been inconsistency in figures of people declared dead and the government efforts to find missing people and the provision of rescue services.
This follows Presidential and Ministry of Information tweets that suggested that government was on top of the situation in the worst cyclone hits areas like Copa, Chikukwa, Ngangu and Chimanimani.
Many have been outraged by the president’s messages on his twitter handle recently that the army has responded swiftly and has acted grandly to the crisis, rescuing and retrieving bodies of those who lost their lives when the cyclone hit their areas.
“We are grieving the tragic loss of life from cyclone Idai. Our togetherness as a nation continues to provide strength to the suffering.
“I am particularly proud of our incredible special forces who are showing great bravery to help those who have been affected,” the President wrote.
“President you are a liar and mune hutsinye (you are cruel) as we speak people in Ngangu Village are surrounded by bodies akutofuta panguva dzino (bodies that are already decaying). Anytime anoputika but your special forces enyu sent an empty helicopter nezuro to assess situation,” charged a tweet written in response to a President Mnangagwa tweet.
Another tweet chided the ministry of information for giving false information after it has reported that the army has evacuated students from St Charles Lwanga school. A Parent who has a child at the school responded immediately and dismissed the report as false.
“My child at St Charles Lwanga School and he walked to Skyline. We are in communication with the teachers who are in constant touch with them. There are sleeping there tonight at their Catholic centre they walked and were not helped by the army,” replied the parent.
The fate of many people in the cyclone hit areas are still unknown as rescue efforts continue.
Citizens in affected areas claimed state media down-played the number of deaths and that the reported 45 burials has been announced by the government was an understatement.
The number of causalities has been described by relief agencies a fast moving figure. Most of the victims come from either collapsing buildings and people are trapped in collapsed buildings or from mudslides.
Meanwhile, minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing July Moyo had a torrid time in parliament on Tuesday, with legislators quizzing him after his ministerial statement on the cyclone. Hon Tendai Biti blamed the country’s disaster management and disaster preparation saying the 2019 Budget, only allocated the sum of $3 million to the Civil Protection Unit, which he said was a drop in the ocean.
Biti said given the foreseeable natural disasters enough resources could have been planned in time, added that the government could have learned from past disasters such as cholera and typhoid in the urban areas. Hon. Rusty Markham asked the minister why schools in the affected areas were not closed in response to the warnings given before the cyclone came. Markham also queried why roads were not closed in the same regard to at least limit the movements of people.
Moyo who was at pains to give a satisfactory response only said the government through his ministry as well as the Civil Protection Unit did their best in handling the situation.