Zimbabwe: Govt Digitalizing Disaster Management System

17 September 2020

Government says it is developing a Disaster Information Management System to coordinate complimentary assistance from development partners during response and avoid replication of intervention activities.

Chief Director in the Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare, Clifford Matorera says government will set up a comprehensive data base of development partners to streamline coordination during disaster response, by next year.

He made these remarks during a Training on Ageing, Social inclusion, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Early Warning Systems organized by the National Age Network of Zimbabwe NANZ in collaboration with Centre for Community Development Solutions (CCDS) and Help Age Zimbabwe.

Matorera said the system was supposed to be ready by year end but works to develop it have been hindered by the Corona Virus induced lockdown which limited movement and coordination activities.

He said through this system government will streamline response to areas of need, coordinate development partners and ensure collaboration among civic society players offering similar social services to avoid duplication.

"As a result of lessons from the Cyclone Idai learnt by government and development partners there are efforts that have been done in order to ensure that in future if we have disasters we coordinate our activities.

"There is a program that is going to ensure that we have a computerized system to assist us whenever there is a disaster, to ensure that we don't end up giving assistance to a particular persons.

"This is ongoing work to come up with a disaster management system, where we should be in the second phase but the corona virus disturbed progress in the development and implementation of the system but by next year we should have that comprehensive system

"Government has set up a technical team to come up with a Disaster Information Management System which should be in the second phase right now in developing and implementing," he said.

Matorera said government gleaned some lessons from the intervention efforts during the Cyclone Idai disaster which ravaged Chipinge and Chimanimani districts and will now seek to conducts proper needs assessment.

Mildred Mapani, chief policy analyst in the ministry, said through this information system partners will be easily coordinated as the system will merge social protection and disaster coordination standards through a robust needs assessment protocol.

She said government will use the computerized disaster management system to build data base of development partners and their areas of specialty to coordinate disaster risk mitigation mechanisms and social service provision.

"Indeed, we are developing an information management system which will bring in disaster management and the normal social protection into one. It's difficult to distinguish between the social services in the normal sense and during a disaster because when a disaster strikes it's the same social protection services that are spread to the disaster areas.

"The system will complement government coordination efforts, assist in assessing interventions of development partners in provision of water, infrastructure, food provision, shelter and the post disaster needs of community.

"We are hoping that by next year we should have a system up and running to guide disaster mitigation interventions, track their progress and evaluate through data the impact and reach of these interventions," said Mapani.

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