Zimbabwe declares two days of national mourning as Cyclone Idai kills 139 people

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-22 07:21:41|Editor: Yurou
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People transfer the body of a victim to a military helicopter in Chimanimani, Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe, March 21, 2019. The death toll from Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe has risen to 139 with 189 still missing, the government said Thursday. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)

HARARE, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared two days of national mourning following the devastating Cyclone Idai which has killed 139 people and left a trail of destruction in the eastern and southern parts of the country.

In an address to the nation Thursday, the president declared the weekend of March 23-24 as national days of mourning.

"In these two days of national mourning, we must remember all our dear departed by way of prayer and other forms of practice," said Mnangagwa.

"Allow me to pay tribute to foreign governments, organizations and citizens whose deep sense of compassion has moved them to stand by us in this hour of great national grief and need," he added.

Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe from neighboring Mozambique between Friday and Sunday, unleashing strong winds and floods that displaced thousands of others and left many homeless after their homes collapsed due to the heavy rains.

The government also said more than 150 people were missing after the floods.

The floods destroyed property and caused widespread destruction to infrastructure such as roads and bridges, particularly in Chimanimani district that has been the most affected.

As rescue and search efforts continue, donations of relief supplies to the victims continue to pour in from local people, companies, regional governments and international aid agencies.

China, the United States, United Nations and the European Union have made donations to the affected communities.

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KEY WORDS: Zimbabwe