Some of the graves of Cyclone Idai victims at Ngangu growth point in Chimanimani
BY Everson Mushava/Tapiwa Zivira
The rising stench of decomposing Cyclone Idai victims buried under debris at Ngangu in Chimanimani is now helping the recovery of bodies with residents saying sniffer dogs will quicken the pace of recovery of their missing relatives.
NewsDay yesterday witnessed the body of a boy aged around 12 years being retrieved from debris of a house washed away by floods at Ngangu township’s new stands after being guided by the stench, two weeks after the cyclone wreaked havoc in the Eastern Highlands.
Residents failed to positively identify the body of the boy who was covered in blankets, suggesting that he was washed away while in his sleep.
According to a villager Tatenda Zhambe, some residents were looking for hardware equipment believed to be buried under the debris when they were suddenly chocked by the stench.
Soldiers involved in the rescue operation later came and retrieved the body.
“We are now being guided by the stench to recover our relatives. There are a lot of people buried under these huge rocks and mud,” Zhambe said.
“We call on government to bring sniffer dogs as quickly as possible. I lost two sisters and we don’t know where they are.”
Zhambe said sniffer dogs would help to get more bodies – estimated to be over 100 – dug up before they deteriorate further.
In what reads like a sad horror tale, residents near the most affected parts of Ngangu – where mud and boulders slid from the nearby mountains and destroyed dozens of houses – are now scouring the area, identifying where stench is emanating from before digging up.
Meanwhile, most parts of Chimanimani continued to receive aid, but some residents were complaining that undeserving beneficiaries were getting priority over victims.
At Border Timbers, some villagers broke a security gate to gain entry into the premises in the hope of getting food aid that was being dropped off by two South African helicopters.
The villagers claimed they had been locked out because their names did not appear on the list of beneficiaries.
Some relief agencies were also taking foodstuffs to affected areas following the repair of the Charter-Ngangu Road.