Cyclone Freddy claims 2 lives in Manicaland

CYCLONE Freddy, which had been anticipated to cause havoc in the country and parts of southern Africa has killed two people and blown off several roofs in Chimanimani and Chipinge, the country’s Metrological Services Departments (MSD) has said.

Last week, government was forced to close schools in areas that were likely to be affected by the Cyclone to avoid loss of lives.

In neighbouring Mozambique, Cyclone Freddy hit the country on February 24 with winds that reached 113 kilometres per hour after making a landfall in the eastern city of Vilankulo where it caused destruction of infrastructure.

In Madagascar seven people died due to the cyclone, but it has weakened considerably and was a moderate tropical storm when it reached Mozambique on Friday, as well as Chimanimani and Chipinge in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, the two districts lost seven cattle, while two people were confirmed dead after being struck by lightning.

Some schools in both districts had their roofs blown off on Friday due to incessant rains and heavy winds.

Department of Civil Protection (DCP) deputy director in charge of response and operations, Farai Hokonya yesterday confirmed the deaths.

“We have received reports in Chimanimani, and I know there is something also in Chipinge. I’m still trying to get hold of those in Chipinge to verify the issue. We don’t have the names of the deceased, we only recorded the deaths. It’s unfortunate I’m on the highway driving,” Hokonya said.

MSD head of forecast, James Ngoma said the department was closely monitoring the situation adding that the public should not panic.

“Our warning category was on level one, which is not a panic warning. When we get to level eight and nine that’s when people can have that panic mode. Basically what I’m saying is that we are very safe.

“The areas that we had mentioned that were going to be affected by the cyclone were the south eastern parts of the country, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Beitbridge, Bikita, Zaka and Buhera,” he said.

“We never mentioned Harare, so people who are waiting for the cyclone to affect Harare, honestly we don’t know where they are getting that information from. We are closely monitoring the situation. The south-eastern parts today (yesterday) received 30mm of rain, and a few roofs have been blown off in Chipinge and Chimanimani.”

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