Monday, March 13, 2006

Mudslides kill gold panners

Harare - At least seven illegal gold panners have died near Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique in the past week, following heavy rains in the area, reports from eastern Zimbabwe said on Friday.

There are fears the final casualty figure could be much higher.

Hospitals in Zimbabwe's Chimanimani and Chipinge districts are preparing for an influx of bodies amid fears that up to 50 panners may have died, according to one newspaper.

"People are dying and there are bodies everywhere," Ananias Mupondi, an illegal panner, told the official Manica Post on his return to Chimanimani.

Heavy rains, which began last Friday, brought chaos to Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique, flooding caves where the illegal panners live and swelling rivers.

Some of the dead are believed to have been swept away by the rivers, while others may have died of malaria and pneumonia, according to the Manica Post, in the city of Mutare.

As a result, the gov't plans to outline gold panning...LINK

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