Zimbabwe declares flooded gold mine national disaster as 24 bodies recovered

Eight survivors and 24 dead bodies have been pulled out of a flooded Zimbabwe gold mine in another disastrous incident for the mining industry, following last month’s dam collapse at a mine in Brazil which killed over 300.

It is thought that around 70 miners were underground in an illegal mine near the town of Kadoma, Southwest of capital city Harare, when a damn burst flooded two shafts on February 16th.

The owners of the mine RioZim said people entered the shafts illegally to look for gold. Illicit mining accounts for a large part of Zimbabwe’s gold output and up to 90% of its citizens work in the informal economy.

One of the survivors revealed that all exits from the mine were flooded, leaving him standing in one spot for days with water up to his neck while rescuers built rudimentary cable systems to pull out the trapped miners.

“I never expected to get out of there alive,” Simon Moyo said. “I was standing in water which reached my neck for the past four or so days. For all those days I never slept or ate anything.”

In the wake of the incident, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared the mine tragedy a national disaster. The cash-strapped nation has also asked for US$200,000 from outside sources to support the ongoing rescue mission.