Heavy rains pounded Muzvezve area last night and derailed search efforts for bodies of miners trapped at Silver Moon and Cricket mines in Battlefields.

At a time teams were battling to dewater the mines, heavy downpours were experienced in the Battlefields area, thereby prolonging the process of pumping out water from the shafts.

Early this Monday the dewatering exercise was still on-going.

The tragedy that has since been declared a state of disaster has put Mines and Mining Development officials on a jolt with Mines Minister Winston Chitando promising to institute a raft of measures to bring normalcy in the informal mining sector.

Minister Chitando said prior to the tragedy warning bells on the occupational safety risks at the mines sounded by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) were ignored.

The tragedy, one of the worst in the mining sector in recent years, has attracted attention from several quarters, including religious leaders who on Sunday converged at the scene for prayers and delivered words of comfort to bereaved families.

Reverend Useni Sibanda of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance delivered a sermon at the scene of the tragedy.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation President Henrietta Rushwaya called on government to formalise the operations of artisanal miners to promote safe work place practices.

Meanwhile, EMA has chipped in with a US$10 000 relief package to help bereaved families and those carrying out the bodies retrieval exercise.

In the same vein, Rushwaya also provided several protective clothing to team members who are carrying out the search for bodies from the two mines.