Govt to honour missing Cyclone Idai victims with sacred shrines

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday said points in Manicaland where bodies of people who died in the devastating Cyclone Idai were deposited will be developed into sacred shrines.

Mnangagwa said this during an address to Domboshawa residents at a national clean-up campaign.

The President said sniffer dogs which were called in to assist with the search for bodies of victims of the March disaster identified at least 46 places and hundreds were still missing.

Cyclone Idai barrelled through Chimanimani and Chipinge districts of Manicaland causing massive death as well as damage to property and infrastructure.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary, Nick Mangwana told that families of the deceased will be consulted as government gives their missing relatives dignified burials.

“I am not sure how many shrines there will be in total but there are 42 to 43 sites that were indicated by Cadaver dogs.

“It’s going to be very difficult to excavate those sites to bring out bodies because it may damage bodies, which is less dignified than to make those sites burial shrines which is why the government is going to make a decision on where the burial sites will be and obviously during all that we speak to the families that are involved.

“It’s a commemoration, it’s immortalising the people that have passed on because they don’t fade away. When somebody disappears and are considered dead, in our culture people find something monumental to bury,” he said.

Mangwana said four months after hundreds went missing in the tropical cyclone, it has become difficult to search for bodies.

The storm wreaked havoc in the south eastern parts of the country destroying infrastructure with many lives lost and according to President Mnangagwa, 347 people are still missing.

South African Police Services (SAPS) and Gift of the Givers organisation at government’s request presented Cadaver dogs to help search for hundreds of bodies deposited under debris and mudslides induced by the furious floods which swept away entire villages.