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Harare Bureau 17/03/19

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared a State of Disaster in respect to areas in Manicaland province that were affected by Cyclone Idia, which has claimed 31 lives and displaced 200 people, most of them in Chimanimani and Chipinge. More than a 100 people are still missing. The army also undertook a ground operation to rescue 197 pupils who were marooned at St Charles Lwanga. It subsequently barrelled through Manicaland resulting in torrential rains. By yesterday afternoon, the cyclone’s epicentre hovered over Rusitu Valley in Chimanimani. The MSD reported that the rainfall at Chisengu Estate in Chimanimani, at 407mm, broke a 37-year record of 169mm. Authorities are actively working with partners including the Red Cross Society, MSF and Mercy Corps who have provided water treatment chemicals, washing soap, mosquito nets, boots, gloves, blankets and tents. Two Command Centres were established at Mhandarume Centre for those rescued in Chimanimani and Christine School for victims from the Rusitu area. Acting Manicaland CPU chairperson Mr Wilson Bore said in Chipinge 67 homes were destroyed, while 20 were destroyed in Mutare District. Electricity power lines were damaged in Mutare Urban, cutting off power supply to some areas. Cyclone Idai has since claimed more than 400 lives in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi