President, Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe should draw lessons from the Tropical Cyclone Idai disaster, which has claimed at least 89 lives, left over 100 missing and destroyed houses and strategic infrastructure.

Addressing the nation this evening, Cde Mnangagwa said the nation should not relax and think that such a misfortune will not happen again, but should rethink about national disaster preparedness and broad national housing policy.

The President confirmed that he will visit Manicaland Province tomorrow to acquaint himself with the situation on the ground, adding that the immediate tasks at hand include rescue operations, ensuring availability of food, shelter and clothes for those affected, and rebuilding physical and social infrastructure.

“My heart goes to those affected by the disaster, and we wish a speedy recovery to those who sustained injuries. The government is doing everything to help the affected as they are fast running out of food and other essentials.

“Our defence forces have now managed to access Chimanimani town. Humidity made search impossible and difficult, with rescuers having to walk for kilometres to some areas. I am glad they have managed to reopen links for relief to reach communities,” said Cde Mnangagwa.

“At the moment, food, water and medicines are badly needed in large quantities and speed. I have since instructed the government to draw food from the country’s strategic reserves for the affected families. However, we also need clothes and blankets, volunteers and other forms of civic intervention, and the government is doing all it can to ensure that donations are well coordinated.”

“We want to thank all nations, development partners and well wishers who have brought all forms of assistance to complement government efforts. The Unite Arab Emirates (UAE) has also responded and that humanitarian assistance will go a long way in easing the situation,” the President added.

The President also warned that the easing of the deadly cyclone will not mark the end of troubles.

“We must brace ourselves for more challenges and complications such as water borne diseases. We are also faced with an equally immediate task of repairing broken communities, rebuilding schools and other physical and social infrastructure,” he said.

Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga will also visit Manicaland province tomorrow to coordinate ministers and government departments carrying out rescue efforts in the province.