Hundreds evacuated amid fears of dam burst in Zimbabwe

Harare – Zimbabwean authorities began evacuating residents from the cyclone-hit town of Chimanimani on Sunday after flood waters weakened a dam wall.

The area is among those hit by cyclone Idai, which has left more than 145 people dead and several hundred missing in Zimbabwe. The storm made landfall late on March 14, leaving more than 750 people dead in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

“The Civil Protection Unit wishes to inform the public that Manyera dam wall in Vumba has weakened and all those downstream are advised to evacuate and go to higher places,” the unit said in a tweet. “Please if you have relatives in this area pass on this message at once.”

“The walls have shown signs of giving in and more than 1,000 families are in danger,” the unit’s director Nathan Nkomo told dpa.

Across the region, some 600 000 people have been displaced and at least 1.7 million have been affected by the cyclone, according to various UN agencies.

The effects of cyclone Idai are also being felt further afield. Uganda’s National Meteorological Authority said the climatic effects of the cyclone would affect weather systems along the coast, leading to a delayed rainy season.

Seasonal rains in Uganda usually start in early March and end in May, but instead, the country has been experiencing intense heat waves.