Government has released the names of the 24 miners who perished in the Battlefields disaster as search efforts continue to account for at least four others reportedly trapped in another shaft.

This comes as search teams have indicated that there may not be any more miners than the 32 already accounted for in the remaining shaft at Jongwe Cooperative Mine contrary to earlier estimates that put the number at over 50.

Police released the names of the deceased as Thulani Sibanda (18) of Mbizo, Kwekwe, John Mufakose (29) of Gore village, Gokwe, Norman Billion (39) of Kadoma, Andrew Mharadze (26) of Mharadze village, Gokwe, Tinashe Shanda (22) of Mashinyira village, Gokwe, Givemore Munyengeri (42) of Plot 22 Silvermoon, Battlefields, Trynos Zindonye (31) of Hamandishe village, Gokwe, Clever Takaendesa (47) of Shurugwi, Tafadzwa Mubaiwa (22) Gonde village, Gokwe, Tinei Tembo (31) Plot 47 Silvermoon, Battlefields, Charles Jacob (25) of Jacopo village, Murehwa and David Martin (38) of Kadoma.

Others include Jabulani Moyo of Village 12A Donnain, Battlefields, Josias Muzadzi (45) of village, Zhombe, Liberty Koke (26) of Village 9A, Gokwe, Augustine Chindoza (39) Chizembo Village, Bikita, Wellington Kwari of Whaley Range Etina Mine, Kadoma, Takanda Mushore (27), Kwekwe, Tobias Takaendesa, Kadoma, Winston Muziribo (22) of Makombe Village, Gokwe, Mayana Bvunzawabaya (27) Gore Village, Gokwe, Misheck Ncube (30) Kapoto Village, Mudzi, Keith Muderedzi (31) Village 10, Kadoma and Eborn Kaseke (24) Matarutse of Marondera.

The 24 were trapped when the shafts they were working were flooded by water following a heavy storm on Tuesday last week.

This comes as Government has indicated that it was winding up search operations at Jongwe Cooperative Mine in Battlefields where eight miners were found alive and 24 bodies were recovered.

Operations have been shifted to Cricket Number 3 Mine where water levels are still high and the shaft is reportedly deeper.

At least four miners are reportedly trapped underground in the shaft which was the first to be flooded before the seven other shafts.

Government has managed to match the names of 32 miners on the register and those rescued alive and bodies retrieved.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo toured Jongwe and Cricket Number 3 Cooperative mines where he gave Government’s assurance to relatives that effort would continue until every missing person has been accounted for.

“We are here to say to the relatives of the victims that do not lose hope because Government has committed itself through the declaration by President Mnangagwa of a State of Disaster and we will support the search effort to the end,” said Minister Moyo.

“We will continue to visit you. Tomorrow (today) we are going to brief the President at Cabinet and we want to do it from an informed position.”

Indications are that search teams have combed all work stations underground in the last shaft and have concluded that chances of finding more bodies were slim.

Minister Moyo dispelled claims that Government reacted slowly to manage the disaster saying such claims emanated from failure to understand the structure of Government.

“Whenever there is a disaster of this magnitude the President calls for a state of emergence or state of disaster.

“The arms of Government’s Civil Protection Unit led by the district administrator including the police at local level are activated. Government’s involvement does not start when the minister arrives at the scene,” said Minister Moyo.

“There are four bodies said to be trapped underground and we want to assure everyone that all Government departments will not leave until all bodies have been rescued or retrieved.”

He said Government’s disaster preparedness was high but they always came in different forms.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said an assessment of the mine would be made before operations could resume. chronicle