Dineo aftermath: Stranded Zimbabwe families ‘airlifted to safety’

Harare - Two Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopters were deployed to airlift to safety at least 50 families stranded by floods this weekend in the southern district of Tsholotsho, a minister said.

Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo, who is MP for the area, said on Twitter that tents had been set up to house the rescued, who come from Sipepa district. The area was cut out when the Gwayi river burst its banks as tropical storm Dineo hit the southern African country, reports say.

“National, Provincial & Tsholotsho [civil protection units] with NGOs are helping at least 50 families affected by flooding in Ward 6. Massive crop destruction!” Moyo tweeted. The official Chronicle on Monday quoted an official saying locals believed up to 80 families might have been stranded “but we really can’t say.”

Eight helicopter trips had already been made by late Sunday night, said the Chronicle.

The Metereological Services Department of Zimbabwe confirmed in a statement that police divers had dispatched a team to Sipepa. The “sub aqua unit” is normally used to retrieve bodies though there is no confirmation yet that lives have been lost.

The department said there had been “unprecedented” flooding in Insiza district, also in southern Zimbabwe. It said a man had drowned in Mberengwa district in central Midlands province.

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