Up to 38 artisanal miners are feared dead after water from a collapsed dam flooded their positions at two underground mines in Battlefields between Kadoma and Kwekwe.
Emergency services were activated on Wednesday to look for survivors and retrieve bodies after rains overnight Tuesday pounded the area leading to the collapse of a dam wall.
The water swamped the area, creating sinkholes and flooding the mine shafts used by the illegal miners.
Police said between 23 and 38 miners are believed to have gone underground at Silver Moon Mine and at Cricket Mine on Tuesday evening. Cricket Mine is owned by RioZim, while Silver Moon is owned by a Baxter.
An emergency was declared at 11PM when the dam burst, and water blanketed the area.
Mashonaland West police said water levels at the two underground mines were still rising, raising fears that the rescue mission has now turned into a recovery mission.
“We have the Civil Protection Unit on the ground leading the rescue and recovery effort, but before that can begin the water must be drained out first. This requires heavy duty pumps because we are still seeing the water levels rising,” said Inspector Clemence Mabweazara, the provincial police spokesman.
Cecilia Chitiyo, the Mashonaland West provincial administrator, said they had sent an SOS to nearby mines as well as major miners like Zimplats to send in their rescue teams.
By Wednesday evening, she said they had deployed a pump from RioZim but more were needed.
Wilson Gwatiringa, the RioZim spokesman, said the company would be issuing a statement on Thursday after assessing the situation.
Mine deaths involving illegal miners are commonplace in Zimbabwe, and many go unreported.
Source : Kukurigo Updates©_