For 12 days, Jane Mucheni and dozens of other women slept on the floor under a blue tent just outside Bay Horse Mine, a disused gold mine in Chegutu, about 110km (70 miles) west of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

The women were waiting for their sons and husbands – declared missing after the mine collapsed on September 30 – to resurface either dead or alive. Nine people had died while 22 others were rescued until the government called off the search to retrieve the trapped miners, angering grieving relatives of those still missing.

“We still have up to 30 people that are underground at the moment,”  Daniel Garwe, the acting minister of local government said on Wednesday. “The ground is moving which is threatening the lives of rescue teams. Operations have been stopped for now until a suitable area to enter the ground is established.”

But the latest development has made the women distraught, including Mucheni whose sons France, 23, and Tinashe, 17, went underground two weeks ago, a day before Bay Horse caved in. They are yet to be found and the mine area is the quietest it has been in years.

“It’s hard to leave knowing those rocks are pressing down on my children,” Mucheni, a farmer, told Al Jazeera. “We have tried everything, every morning we have prayed [to God] 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?”

A dozen artisanal miners went down the 250-metre pit daily, armed with rudimentary picks and shovels to dig through the rubble in search of their colleagues trapped underground. Despite the intense heat and the suffocating smell of human remains, they pressed on until the government called off the rescue mission.

For more such interesting stuff click here