No one predicted that the Cyclone would reach such levels in their rage and destruction. What began as mere warnings of a cyclone to come whose landfall would strike Beira, a neighboring port city to the province of Manicaland ended with reality striking in the midst of pitch darkness.
We never knew that the magnitude would be so magnanimous to an extent where whole settlements would be engulfed by flowing mud, raging rocks and volumes upon volumes of flowing water. It came as a surprise even to the authorities. Everyone was caught unawares. This time it was unlike the subtle Eline, the disciplined Japhet and all other cyclones of past whose destructions were merely confined to bridges, a couple of houses and roofs being blown away.
This time the destruction was so profound and beyond imagination. Homes and whole settlements where swept away to where, no one knows. Houses with their inhabitants where engulfed to the roof’s ridges, those that succumbed to the evil Idai are too numerous to even imagine about. Reports of bodies inevitably flowing into neighboring Mozambique are unimaginable but real, bodies are buried in the mud of landslides and rockfalls that completely buried humanity alive. So painful and sorry is the situation that thinking of it sends tears on the cheeks of many.
Whole settlements in Kopa, Ngangu and the valley of Rusitu where submerged, buried and homes substituted by huge rocks and boulders that render the whole situation painful and heart-rending. Imagining the possibility of having souls buried somewhere in those mounds of earth, slime and rocks paints so dire and gloomy a situation that needs nothing but concerted effort from all and sundry to get to a situation where most if not all bodies are recovered and accounted for.
Areas in and around Chimanimani where completely destroyed. Communication and road networks were not spared in all this devastation. Bridges, roads, houses, schools, clinics and any built up settlement were turned into rubble. Whole villages where marooned with people spending days and nights cuddled on trees and some perched on rooftops.
With the raging storm, air rescue operations could not be used rendering the situation dire. The ZNA was called to duty and together with the community, youths, civic organizations began futile but necessary search attempts.
Bringing food and other basic necessities to the community of Chimanimani was of paramount importance and relief efforts had to be undertaken. Initially, search parties walked on feet carrying relief items in the form of food, mosquito nets and medicines among a plethora of other accoutrements. These were taken to the communities in dire need.
Reconstruction efforts are still underway with road, electricity and communication networks being rehabilitated. Such efforts need all hands to come on deck and help a brother and a sister who is living at the mercy of the twin menacles of nature and supposed predestination.
After all, our lives are in the hands of the one Almighty whose decision is final and it’s only for us to face the fate that befalls us.
Schools have been rendered useless sites of past glory, learners have been stupefied as their whole schools were either destroyed in one way or the other or where completely wiped off the face of the earth. Learners in examination classes have been left hopeless as their peers in unaffected parts of the country are busy with their books, yet they themselves are still horrified and petrified by the devastating effects of the demonic Idai. They do not know when next they will be in school preparing for their External Zimsec examinations that come in less than 5 months. Their future is so dire just like their prospects of getting an education gloomy.
As we live in the shadows of cyclone Idai let’s continue to put a hand to help these communities that are hard hit by the ugly Idai. We all know that the African spirit calls out loud and bellows far and wide for that oneness in calamity and suffering.
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