MUTARE– The Ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing is set to provide a death registration waiver as it moves the chapter on the Cyclone idai disaster by declaring all the missing persons dead, 263Chat has learnt.
By Donald Nyarota
This was revealed by Provincial Development Coordinator Edgar Seenza during a Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission feedback session on the National Enquiry on access to documentation, following recommendations for a waiver on processes to declare the missing persons as dead.
Seenza said government through the Civil Protection Act had assessed cases of missing person and submitted names to the Minister of Local government who will declare the missing persons as dead.
“We have done a verification exercise for those missing persons and names were compiled and submitted to the Minister now the minister is going to declare those persons as dead, so that is the government position as we stand.
“The Minister through the Civil Protection Act as the basis of the waiver will make that announcement in due course, although at the moment I am not at liberty to disclose how many people will be declared as dead,” said Seenza.
When Cyclone Idai tore through parts of three provinces, Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland over 260 people died while thousands of people mainly from Chipinge and Chimanimani districts were displaced, with at least 300 people remaining missing to this day.
ZHRC Director, Kurukai Ratsauka said several survivors who lost relatives in the devastating cyclone had approached the commission with an appeal to have their relatives declared dead.
She said some of the relatives were failing to access terminal benefits of their relatives because they did not have death certificates.
“People who lost their relatives during Cyclone Idai are asking for a waiver saying 5 years is too long, they are saying since it was a disaster there should be a waiver of up to 6 months so that they can access terminal benefits.
“These submissions mean that there is need to assist those people because of the peculiar nature of the disaster which swept away their relatives,” said Ratsauka.
She said while the Registrar General made an undertaking to assist survivors.
The commission recommended a targeted mop up exercise targeting survivors of the natural disaster who are still struggling to move on with their lives without the identity documents.
“We have done outreaches to the Cyclone Idai affected areas after the mobile registration exercise that was carried out by the Registrar General’s office, as a rapid response program to assist people that lost their documents in the disaster.
“However, there are still challenges that remain, we were told that when the RG’s office went there the exercise did not just target those who had experienced the tragedy but it was the generality of the people,” said Ratsauka.