‘My hotel haven for Cyclone homeless’

pA hotel in Zimbabwe’s south-eastern town of Chimanimani is providing shelter for those who have lost their homes in Cyclone Idai, which has devastated huge swathes of southern Africa.

Mandla Mataure, the general manager of Chimanimani Hotel, told BBC Focus on Africa radio what he and his team were doing to help:

From the first night we have been sheltering about 400 people – Men, women and children who were just stranded and had nowhere to go after their homes were destroyed.

So we’ve opened up our doors: we’ve got a big enough conference room and lounge for people to sleep – camping style, at least until we can get something more semi-permanent.

We’re cooking pretty much on open fires – last night [Monday] we fed 390 people.

A lot of people feel safer here [at night], maybe going back during the day to the areas where their homes were to try and salvage whatever they can find.

There’s still a fear of landslides -the rocks or trees that were loosened during the rains.

We were fortunate because this building was built soon after World War Two, so it’s got very solid concrete walls – it wasn’t damaged but just standing near a window and hearing the sheer force of the wind and the rain, I couldn’t even imagine what it was like for those who were in the village.

Buildings were swept away, we’re in a mountainous area – it’s a mess. A lot of lives have been lost and we’re still counting, some people have been buried but some bodies are still under rubble.

A lot of roads are damaged.

We’ve got about four or five different roads that can bring you to Chimanimani but on each road, there’s at least one or two bridges that have been damaged, making those roads impassable, so we’re pretty much stranded at the moment.

The water is starting to recede, leaving newly created tributaries that we’re having to deal with. It is still raining on and off. –BBC

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