Mnagagwa declares mining incident as state of disaster

Dozens of illegal gold miners were trapped down shafts that were flooded by a dam that burst during heavy rains on Tuesday night.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa takes his oath of office in Harare on August 26, 2018 Picture: AFP.

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared a mining accident in Zimbabwe that's now believed to have left up to 70 people dead a state of disaster.

Dozens of illegal gold miners were trapped down shafts that were flooded by a dam that burst during heavy rains on Tuesday night, and rescuers say there’s now little chance of finding anyone alive.

There’d been criticism of Mnangagwa for not saying anything about this tragedy in a mine near the town of Kadoma, but now the families of the dead will get help from the government.

State radio is reporting that up to 70 unregistered gold miners may have been down the shafts at the two mines.

Not a single body has been retrieved yet, three days after the mine flooded, as rescuers are still trying to pump water from the shafts.

The authorities buy gold from illegal miners without asking questions but these miners work in unsafe conditions and this is by far from the first tragedy of its kind.