Zimbabwe: in the valley of death, battered and isolated by the cyclone

Zimbabwe: dans la vallée de la mort, meurtrie et isolée par le cyclone

Two men, gloved in white come down from a construction truck muddy. On the dirt road, they spread an old blanket, and gently, under the sun income, raise, and then wrap around the small body lying in the tall grass, a victim of the cyclone that has hit Zimbabwe.

In the town of Chimanimani, in the eastern part of the country, the inhabitants continue, six days after the passage of the cyclone Idai, to discover the corpses carried away by the mud, or crushed by rocks.

Here, in this magnificent valley, at least a hundred of houses have been swallowed. At the scale of the country, Idai has 139 people dead and nearly 200 people are still missing. Among them, 30 pupils of Chimanimani.

“I lost everything. My house, my property, the chickens which I was involved. I survive thanks to begging. I would have never imagined that,” Eunica Simango, waiting for a food distribution.

“But the thing more painful, is that I don’t know where is my daughter” as a teenager, loose it in front of the hotel “Chimanimani”, transformed into a shelter for survivors, still rattled.

In the extension of the cemetery reserved for “heroes” – fighters of the liberation war of Zimbabwe, a man digs with a pickaxe, a burial.

Around him, the red earth is freshly turned. Dozens of other tombs, met this week in the haste to accommodate the victims of the cyclone, are marked with simple stones, pebbles or bits of wood.

In the district of Ngangu, where a mudslide swept away houses, fridges and cars, the survivors probe the thick soft earth using sticks and shovels, in search of victims.

Other scavenging in the rubble of their house, looking for clothes or kitchen utensils.

– Lack of food –

Mud up to the knees, a man cleans up, the shovel, the entrance to a house. In another home, the mud compact comes up to the kitchen counter in formica pale blue.

“We have the food, but the question that haunts me is knowing where we are going to have the food when the centre will close’, request Eunica Simango, 34 years of age.

In another accommodation centre, food is scarce. A volunteer tries to calm down the hungry.

“It must do with what we have”, explains Daina Mandevhana. “You can’t expect to have the full stomach. We can not complain, saying: +In me, I drink my tea with milk+. This is the current situation, and he must accept it.”

“The means are limited to enter” in Chimanimani, ” says Shawne Kidd, a local businessman who is involved in the relief effort.

“The roads are destroyed, the bridges broken, he said the AFP journalist who market a thirty kilometers to reach the town.

“There are hundreds of organizations who want to help. The problem is to arrive up here. There is no trail. The helicopters are used to provide drugs,” says Shawne Kidd.

The situation should start to improve this weekend. Trucks of the united Nations Fund for children (Unicef) and the organization Action Aid are expected a week battery after the arrival of the cyclone on Chimanimani.

A call centre is also to be put in place. Sitting on a bench, several people waiting to call relatives to reassure them or share their pain.