Climate Community Development

Cyclone Idai declared a national disaster

Cyclone Idai declared a national disaster
Cyclone

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared the impact of Cyclone Idai a state of disaster.  So far, there have been 31 deaths and over 100 people are missing.

According to the Metrological Services Department, areas within the pathway of Cyclone Idai include Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, parts of Masvingo and Midlands provinces. 

Its effects were also projected to be felt in Harare Metropolitan and the Matabeleland provinces.It is estimated that a total of 1,600 households (8,000 – 9,600 people) have been affected in Chimanimani, Chipinge, Nyanga and Mutare districts, Manicaland Province, as a result of flooding and landslides. 

Considerable damage to properties, livelihoods and infrastructure has been reported.  UNHCR has reported that 294 persons in Tongogara Refugee Camp have been affected, with 49 houses damaged. 

There are also reports of Buhera district being affected.  The Government 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. 

The DCP has activated all the Civil Protection structures.  A sub-national flood command centre has been set up to facilitate real-time coordination of the response. 

Civil Protection Committees are conducting rapid needs assessments in the affected areas, while access and communication remain a challenge.  Continued monitoring and surveillance of the situation is ongoing.  Mass flood awareness campaigns are ongoing through various media platforms and SMS.  The military (Air Force) is supporting search and rescue operations as well as evacuation of at-risk communities.  Search and rescue operations is made difficult by the weather conditions.

According to Sirak Gebrehiwot, UN Zimbabwe Communications Specialist, UN Agencies and Humanitarian partners had pre-positioned non-food and food items in at-risk provinces, which are being or ready to be dispatched.

“These include: temporary shelters, water, hygiene  and sanitation, non-food items, Child Protection-related supplies, mama kits and food.  There is an ongoing health and nutrition intervention in Chimanimani district supported by HDF.

“There are projected gaps for non-food items and temporary shelters.The Logistics Cluster/Sector has been activated, led by WFP.Earlier today, the Government and UNDP have requested for the activation of both the International Charter for Major Disasters and the Copernicus Emergency Management Service.  Activation of these service will provide maps that will be very useful for emergency response in the districts affected by Cyclone Idai,” Gebrehiwot added.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende