Zimbabwe: Amnesty International Implores Govt to Upscale Cyclone Idai Rebuilding Efforts

Dozens of houses and state infrastructure were destroyed or damaged.
13 March 2020

Amnesty International has cited inadequate and dwindling financial support from the international community and the slow pace of government rebuilding efforts for the continued deplorable conditions the people of Chimanimani and Chipinge are still living under, one year after the cyclone idai hit Zimbabwe.

In a statement today, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa, Tigere Chagutah said a year after Cyclone Idai tore through Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, many of the people affected are experiencing the worst face of the climate crisis.

"They are barely surviving.

"Tens of thousands of people are still homeless, with some living in UN provided shelters, and others in makeshift structures, unable to access basic sanitation, and at risk of cholera and other opportunistic diseases. Children are out of school and healthcare facilities are yet to be fully rebuilt. Given the dire situation in the countries and the responsibilities for the climate crisis, wealthier states and multilateral donors need to pledge more than they have done and ensure money reaches those who need it," said Chaguta.

A year since Cyclone Idai hit the region, less than half of the USD$450 million needed for relief and recovery assistance to communities affected by the cyclone in Zimbabwe and Mozambique has been secured, with just over $40,000 committed in the first quarter of 2020.

In Zimbabwe, the second hardest hit country after Mozambique, many affected people are still living in makeshift tents in camps set up by the UN Refugee Agency.

At a regional climate change dialogue in Mutare last week, organized by Amnesty International and its partners, survivors from all Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi confessed to losing their livelihoods while they continue to rely on aid for survival.

They also raised concern about the lack of effective communication of climate information and coordination between government agencies and the grassroots in managing risk and responding to disasters when they occur given these are becoming an increasing occurrence due to the climate crisis.

Community representatives called for better sharing of weather information, including through community bulletin boards and radio.

"In the wake of this catastrophic natural disaster, it is clear that the governments of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe cannot afford to shoulder the cost of the loss and damage caused by cyclone Idai and undertake the massive reconstruction and rebuilding of people's lives alone. This situation shows why it is so important that states agree on an adequate international mechanism on loss and damage, with dedicated finances, to support people whose rights have been affected by the climate crisis," added Chagutah.

Amnesty urged affected governments, and international partners to renew their commitment, step up reconstruction and ensure that these efforts are done in a way that truly delivers human rights.

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