The bodies of 157 Zimbabwean Cyclone Idai victims who were buried in Mozambique in 2019 are to be exhumed, identified and brought back to Zimbabwe, but another 344 people presumably killed during the cyclone and washed away into Mozambique have no known grave.
DNA tests will be undertaken so as to positively identify the exhumed bodies with known graves in Mozambique.
The Government through funding partners is now pushing ahead to build better the communities affected by Cyclone Idai in sectors including transport, power, water and sanitation and agriculture.
Cyclone Idai, the tropical storm that killed hundreds of people, destroyed crops and livestock and battered eastern and central parts of the country in 2019, was the worst weather-related disaster in more than 100 years in Zimbabwe.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo, who chairs the Inter-ministerial Committee on Civil Protection, said among those still missing Government has since identified names of at least a quarter.
“As you may be aware, the immediate impact of Cyclone Idai was the loss of 347 lives with 344 people still missing who are now deemed dead.
“The names of the 203 of the 344 missing people are now known from information provided by villages where they lived. Modalities by Government pathologists to exhume and repatriate bodies of the 157 who died in Mozambique remains a priority,” he said.
Minister Moyo said the total number of people injured was 201 while the number of the directly affected was more than 50 000.
“The number of directly affected households was staggered at 52 027 of which 17 608 households were left homeless.
“Despite the ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic, commendable efforts by Government and partners has seen restoration of livelihoods to the affected communities particularly in the areas of housing, roads and bridges infrastructure, education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, agriculture as well as small and medium enterprises,” he said.
The remains of 82 unknown Zimbabweans believed to have been swept by floods were interred in Mozambique in 2019.