President Emmerson Mnangagwa who has travelled to the United Arab Emirates said rescue operations were under way to help those stranded.
“My thoughts & prayers are with all those affected by Cyclone Idai,” he said in a twitter message.
“Rescue operations are underway & we are grateful for the bravery of the men & women of the Zimbabwean armed forces who, along with our local & international partners, are participating in the urgent rescue efforts.”
The Ministry of Information said Chimanimani was the worst affected area and two Command Centres have been established at Mhandarume Centre for those rescued from Chimanimani and Christine School for those from the Rusitu area.
The ministry said the army is moving in from Chipinge to rescue 197 pupils from Charles Luwanga so they can take them to Mhandarume.
“This a very challenging operation as it’s being undertaken as a ground effort because of unsafe weather conditions for air efforts. We will keep the nation updated,” the ministry said.
“Consignments of supplies are being ferried to the affected areas in Chimanimani. These include buckets, tarpaulins, boxes of laundry soap, Jerry cans, boxes of bath soap, nets and raincoats to be used by volunteers.
“Govt wishes to discourage any efforts to cross flooded rivers by individuals. We are receiving tragic reports of some people being swept away. We urge patience as rescue is on its way. Let us not have avoidable loss of human life. We have lost 31 Zimbabweans to #CycloneIdai.”