Cyclone Idai survivors burn church pews to survive

By Doug Mattushek - 19 April 2019Views : 78

Survivors of the devastating Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe have been forced to burn church pews to stay warm and cook food.

The tropical cyclone ripped through Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in March before finally dissipating. The World Bank estimates that three million people were left in its wake and has put a hefty price tag of $2 billion to repair the damage.

In Zimbabwe’s Rusitu Valley, were at least 344 people lost their lives, many survivors have been left homeless and with little resources.

At a Methodist church in Ngangu, Reverend Steven Chitiyo told Bloomberg the extent of the damage.

“Just 15 meters from this church, everything was obliterated,” he said.

“Rocks are all that remain, but the human spirit doesn’t die. We will recover.”

Reverend Chitiyo added that they had been burning the church pews in the cold evenings.

At another church in Ngangu, Talkmore Maziya, an elder at the parish, revealed the dead and the living are existing side by side.

“We had to make hard choices here,” he said.

“We moved the dead into the church by the pulpit. There were 42 bodies in there. The living were also sheltering inside, and we had to take blankets we’d given to children and make a curtain because we thought it’s better they’re cold than seeing the bodies, many mutilated, being brought inside.”