Harare — Displaced women, among them pregnant women, have lost critical health supplies including ante-natal care records, iron supplements and ARVs, which have been washed away with their belongings in flooding across two provinces.
Women and girls from more than 2,500 households in eight districts in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces are in need of humanitarian assistance and critical sexual reproductive health services.
Flooding caused by Cyclone Idai, the latest humanitarian crisis to hit the country, has led to a death toll of at least 98 people and displaced many families. Hundreds of people remain unaccounted for in the affected communities.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has declared a state of disaster in the affected areas.
The floods have destroyed infrastructure and property. Access to health facilities and schools remains difficult in eight districts. The hardest hit district of Chimanimani remains inaccessible due to heavy rains and strong winds causing damage to roads, while the main access bridges have been washed away.
Limited access has been gained by Zimbabwe's Defence Force and private helicopters, which are transferring critical patients to two hospitals within the province, as well as delivering food and essential medicines.
UNFPA distributes sexual and reproductive health kits
A joint inter-sectoral rapid needs assessment is ongoing in Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutare, Nyanga and Buhera to determine the level of damage and to map the appropriate humanitarian response for the affected communities.
Humanitarian partners have pre-positioned non-food and food items in at-risk provinces, which are ready to be dispatched. These include temporary shelters, water sanitation and health (WASH), non-food items, child protection-related supplies, Maama kits, family planning resource kits and food.
UNFPA is coordinating the response together with the Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Resident Coordinator Office, World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Rescue Committee and international aid organization GOAL. This includes the transportation and distribution of 2000 Maama kits, family planning resource kits and dignity kits previously stockpiled to address the immediate needs of displaced populations in the affected areas.
The governmental response is being coordinated by the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) at both national and sub-national levels through the National, Provincial and District Civil Protection Committees, which Sector Lead agencies and humanitarian partners are supporting.
Cyclone Idai has also caused widespread flooding in Malawi and Mozambique (view Sub-Regional Situation Report: Malawi - Mozambique - Zimbabwe: 14 March). In total, an estimated 1.85 million people have been affected.
- Jesilyn Dendere