Zimbabwean government to repatriate bodies of 2019 Cyclone Idai victims from Mozambique

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The Zimbabwean government is working on repatriating the bodies of 157 people who were swept into neighboring Mozambique during Cyclone Idai-induced flooding in 2019 which left at least 347 people dead and another 344 missing and now presumed dead.

The state-run Herald newspaper reported Tuesday that Zimbabwe’s local government minister July Moyo had told it that DNA tests would be undertaken to positively identify the exhumed bodies with known graves in Mozambique. Cyclone Idai – rated one of the worst storms to hit Africa as it swept across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi – also destroyed crops and livestock and battered eastern and central parts of the country.

Moyo, who chairs the Inter-ministerial Committee on Civil Protection, said the Zimbabwean government had since identified names of more than half of the people who were still missing.”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.

Moyo said the total number of people injured was 201 while the number of the directly affected was more than 50,000.”Despite the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, commendable efforts by government and partners have seen a 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.

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