The government of Zimbabwe has stopped the rescue mission of dozens of miners trapped underground after the collapse of Bay Horse Mine on September 30, after 12 days of relentless efforts. This has left families in anguish and sparked anger among the waiting relatives.
According to Aljazeera, dozens of women, west of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, including Jane Mucheni, spent sleepless nights, clinging to hope while awaiting news of their missing sons and husbands. The mine collapse had already claimed nine lives, and 22 others were rescued before the rescue mission was abruptly halted by the government.
Acting Minister of Local Government, Daniel Garwe, announced the suspension of operations, citing the threat posed to rescue teams by the unstable ground. The decision left grieving families, especially mothers like Mucheni, devastated and desperate for any signs of their loved ones.
“We still have up to 30 people that are underground at the moment,” Garwe revealed. Mucheni, whose sons France, 23, and Tinashe, 17, had ventured underground a day before the tragedy, expressed her agony: “It’s hard to leave knowing those rocks are pressing down on my children. We have tried everything, every morning we have prayed and last week we even had a traditional ceremony to call on our ancestors to help us. Those who have been here with their big cars parked haven’t done anything, doesn’t anyone care?”
Despite the challenges, artisanal miners displayed immense courage, going down the 250-meter pit daily armed with rudimentary tools, searching for their trapped colleagues amidst intense heat and the overpowering smell of human remains. Their efforts were abruptly halted by the government’s decision, leaving the mine area eerily quiet and families in an agonizing state of limbo.
This tragedy not only highlights the perilous conditions faced by miners in Zimbabwe but also raises questions about the adequacy of rescue efforts and the responsibility of authorities toward the safety and well-being of their citizens.