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by Elita Chikwati/Paidamoyo Chipunza, Harare Bureau 19/03/19

AT least 98 people have been confirmed dead, while 102 others were injured, with 11 719 affected in various ways by Cyclone Idai which hit mainly parts of Manicaland province since last week. The Department of Civil Protection in Manicaland said yesteday that 217 people were reported missing, while 42 others were still marooned, as efforts to rescue them continued to be hampered by the unfavourable weather conditions. In Mutasa, 24 houses and four toilets were damaged, while in Mutare Rural mud has blocked Leopard Rock Road. Mutare urban has 59 houses damaged, Buhera 30 and Chipinge 234. In Chikomba in Mashonaland East, 68 houses, bridges and roads have been damaged. The Department said some communities sought refuge from some centres that are relatively safe from flooding and mudslides. About 500 people from Chimanimani have sought refuge at Chaminimani Hotel, while 300 are at Ngangu School. The Zimbabwe National Army has since rescued some affected people and opened up some detours to enable relief aid to reach the affected, after the cyclone destroyed major roads and bridges in the area. Meanwhile, the United Nations family and other development partners working in Zimbabwe have joined Government in responding to effects of Tropical Cyclone Idai. In an interview yesterday, the UN’s communications specialist in Zimbabwe, Mr Sirak Gebrehiwot, said the UN has since dispatched a team of 22 UN personnel to areas most affected by the cyclone.