Warnings started coming in as far back as Sunday. I took note but I wasn’t scared. The last cyclone to hit Zimbabwe was 19 years ago. I thought to myself it just simply couldn’t happen. But I said a few prayers for Mozambique, Malawi and everyone who would be in the cyclone’s path.
Some areas hadn’t fully recovered since Cyclone Eline in 2000. I don’t remember much about it, I was extremely young back then but from the way people talked I knew things were bad. As the week progressed the conditions of the cyclone got more dire, I heard them once talking about it being a category 4. I was slightly worried.
From the international news I got the impression that this was going to be one of the worst. Yet locally in Zimbabwe major alarm bells weren’t being raised and we were not getting regular updates on the weather. So I was both annoyed by that but I also took comfort from it. I thought they knew something I didn’t, I thought maybe Cyclone Idai wouldn’t make it to us.
Mozambique had already suffered terrible floods when the cyclone made landfall on Thursday. It was literally the rubbing of salt into fresh wounds. 120 had already died in both Mozambique and Malawi but nature knows no sympathy. So the wrath of nature was felt in Beira right through to Chimoio. Right up until it was at the border and knocking on Zimbabwe’s door.
There was an untold path of damage and thousands were displaced. The winds tore through everything and anything and after them came the rains. It was downgraded after it’s landfall but that felt just like a technical term because on the ground everything was brutal.
Those who knew of the storms path into Zimbabwe got prepared. But we were just not ready, not enough people knew the right things, there was no evacuation, there was no movement to higher but a lot of hopes and prayers. And so the cyclone took a step and crossed over the border. It carried destruction a lot have not known their entire lives.
65 are already feared dead and 100’s more said to be missing. We were sadly unprepared and we don’t have enough resources.
#CycloneIdai, #CycloneIdaiZW, #Chimanimani, #Manicaland, #Chipinge, #Zimbabwe, #Mozambique
Hashtags carry the stories I couldn’t tell. There’s sadness and pain. Lost lives and families torn apart. And most importantly a cry for help! It feels like the cyclone was appropriately named for this purpose. Because Idai is the Shona imperative intstructing one to love.
So although the storm has been destructive I hope a unity somehow comes out of it. And we help each other carry the pain and all the damage that occurred. It’s necessary to carry on. Aljazeera reports that 900 mm more of rainfall might be coming into the region. I just hope and pray we make through everything as whole as we can be.
If you’re in an area in cyclones path here are just a few safety tips;
Please be safe wherever you are, be it Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia or Malawi.
For those willing to assist with disaster relief efforts in Zimbabwe;
All the little you can do helps!