By Leopold Munhende
SOME 82 Zimbabwean bodies have been buried in Mozambique out of nearly 300 missing persons amid reports some might have washed up into the neighbouring country.
Local Government Minister July Moyo told a post-Cabinet media briefing Tuesday, Zimbabwe Defense Forces had confirmed that Mozambican villagers had buried the bodies in three different locations.
“Last week we were at 189 (victims), we had a number of people who were on our missing persons list and our defense forces who at Vhumba had crossed into Mozambique were able to confirm with villagers in Mozambique that seven people were buried and sent the pictures.
“Another 15 were also buried at another place and yet another 60 were buried 40 kilometers down in Dombe district of Mozambique,” said Moyo.
“Those are the figures that we have added to come to 268 and by that figure we are also reducing the number of those we are saying are missing.”
He added that government was continuing with its search and rescue operations.
An unknown number of Zimbabwean victims of Cyclone Idai were washed away into neighbouring Mozambique last month with villagers reporting seeing them floating in rivers.
Moyo said it was difficult at this juncture for government to declare all missing persons dead.
Government is currently exploring methods of transporting food and other amenities that include clothing and shelter as all roads and bridges to affected areas were washed away.
The army and air force are currently using helicopters to rescue marooned villagers in far-flung areas.
With water and sanitation systems largely destroyed, waterborne diseases are a growing concern.
Cyclone Idai ripped into south east of Manicaland last month and left a trail of death and destruction. Chimanimani and Chipinge districts bore the brunt of the tropical cyclone that also tore into Mozambique and Malawi leaving hundreds dead.