Nightmare for 8 marooned Chiredzi villagers

Increase Gumbo

Chiredzi – Two Chiredzi women and six children from two families spent a day and a nightmarish night marooned in the flooded Mutirikwi River from Thursday afternoon to Friday.

Four of the marooned villagers were eventually swept away by the river as two Members of Parliament struggled to get help from the Airforce of Zimbabwe to get them rescued. The other four were airlifted from the river on Friday afternoon.
The four are still missing and Police has not yet released the names.

The incident has once again brought to the fore the poor state of the country’s Civil Protection Unit for disasters.

They were marooned at a place popularly known as Pagungwa at the border of Chiredzi West and Chiredzi North on Thursday. Floods from upstream suddenly rose as they were crossing.

Chiredzi District Development Co-ordinator Lovemore Chisema confirmed the incident in a statement to The Mirror.

“The rescue operation was successful but unfortunately we lost four people, an 18-year-old mother, her 11 months baby and two girls aged 14 and 7 years respectively.

“The mother of the two girls survived the disaster,” said Chisema.

Sources told The Mirror that members of two families, a mother and her daughter and another mother and her five children were crossing Mutirikwi when the floods suddenly rose. When they realised this they looked for higher ground where they were then marooned.

Four of the victims later lost their hold and were swept away from the high ground.

The MPs who assisted during the rescue were Roy Bhila of Chiredzi North and Farai Musikavanhu of Chiredzi West.
There were also futile attempts by the MPs to get assistance from Tongaat Hullet.

The search of the other bodies was still underway and attempts to get a comment from Masvingo Police Spokesperson Kudakwashe hit the brick as his mobile was not reachable.

Meanwhile communities have been urged to desist from crossing flooded rivers.

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