Farai Makubaza, recently in Chimanimani. The disaster that struck Chimanimani in March of 2018 will forever be etched in the national memory for years to come, to an extent the name Chimanimani has become synonymous with the tragedy of that fateful night. Many lives were lost, families torn apart never to be reunited, bodies swept to sea, infrastructure destroyed. Who can forget those iconic pictures of our soldiers clearing the impassable skyline pass and tales of people trapped beneath boulders in their homes.This was supposed to be the legacy of Cyclone Idai, but not anymore. Government through the CPU immediately mobilised resources and development partners, the tagline was to ‘build back better’, and this is evident to anyone driving through the scenic mountaneous trail of Manicaland. Government is not only reclaiming damaged areas, the Ministry of transport has gone a step further in anticipating future areas that might exacerbate natural disasters, in this case culverts along fault lines and waterways are being constructed.
The theme of build back better is becoming a reality for Chimanimani residents. The benefits to the community have been immense as the rebuilding process has offered employment opportunities for women and youth along the reconstruction path, bringing a source of livelihood for families.
The drive up to skyline from Ngangu is completely transformed with a state of the art tarred road, bridges and well laid out culverts that drain water from the mountains and channel it to the rivers beneath the mountains. At Rusitu, one of the areas where relief efforts were cut off at the peak of Idai, roadworks are progressing and indications are that completion is on the horizon. As President Mnangagwa has often said, ‘brick by brick we will build our country’, Chimanimani is testimony to this refrain.