Zimbabwe Begins Rise From Ashes of Cyclone Idai

Harare — BESIDES the death of over 600 people, destruction of 50 000 households and displacement of 60 000 individuals, Cyclone Idai left a trail of destruction of infrastructure estimated at $622 million when it hit Zimbabwe earlier this year.

With extensive damage to structures such as roads, bridges and telecommunications equipment, affected communities were cut off the rest of the country.

Thanks to a multimillion-dollar investment by the government of Zimbabwe and international financiers, the livelihoods of affected communities are set to be restored while infrastructure rehabilitated.

Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo Provinces were the worst affected by the cyclone that struck in March.

Nine worst affected districts in these areas will benefit from the funds totaling $96,7 million raised by government, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank for the post Cyclone Idai recovery projects.

Nonetheless, an impact assessment of areas affected by Cyclone Idai estimated that $671 million would be required to help fully restore livelihood and basic facilities.

Speaking at a recent media briefing in the capital Harare, Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, World Bank's Regional Director for Social, Urban and Rural Resilience, advocated for a multi-sectoral approach.

"Through these unique partnerships we hope to contribute to how national and regional authorities, and development and humanitarian partners can and must work together in providing critical development assistance," Ijjasz-Vasquez said.

The World Bank has provided $72 million to finance its Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP).

AfDB has earmarked $24,7 million for its Idai Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project (IERRP). It aims to restore public infrastructure, irrigation and energy supply, and telecommunications networks in Chipinge and Chimanimani Districts.

The funding is also anticipated to strengthen the government's capacity to predict and respond to emergencies.

Walter Odero, AfDB Country Economist, noted that while the combined intervention from the two finance institutions would significantly improve livelihoods of thousands and restore basic infrastructure there were shortfalls.

"A lot more is needed to ensure that the people go back to the livelihoods they had before the disaster struck," Odero said.

The administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged its support to IERRP to the tune of $3,2 million.

Jennifer Mhlanga, Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, welcomed the contributions by the institutions towards the revival of communities' livelihoods and infrastructure renewal.

"The government will ensure a successful implementation of the projects," she assured.

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has endorsed IERRP and ZIRP.

Ranier Frauenfeld, the UNOPS reiterated UN's commitment to supporting the recovery of communities affected by Cyclone Idai and to ensure that Zimbabwe revived its development agenda.

"The two projects represented a coordinated multi-sector response that will build resilience and sustainability in the targeted communities," Frauenfeld said.

Besides AfDB, World Bank and UN, China and South Africa have also assisted affected communities to build resilience.

Zimbabwe was alongside Malawi and neighbouring Mozambique the worst hit by the Cyclone Idai, which left more than 1 300 people dead with more than 500, 000 others affected.

It was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.

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