Cyclone Idai Survivors Fret Over Looming Rain Season

Thousands of families living in areas devastated by the March Cyclone Idai in the eastern parts of Zimbabwe are living in fear of another natural disaster of almost similar proportions as the new rain season approaches.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the affected communities are also desperate for permanent shelter and dependable livelihoods, some eight months after the harsh weather phenomenon hit parts of Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces, leaving over 300 people dead and thousands more homeless.

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) conducted by the IOM indicates that 270 000 individuals were affected by the cyclone and 50 905 people in 12 districts were displaced while 223 households still reside in displacement sites.

“We live in constant fear of another disaster. The rainy season is upon us; some of our tents are giving in to harsh weather conditions,” Gogo Johanna, who lost two sons during the cyclone, told IOM at one of the displacement sites.

“I don’t know what will happen to me and my grandchildren. We have no source of income; our fields and livestock went with the mudslides.

“We used to have thriving market gardens but now we depend on well-wishers to give us food,” added the cyclone survivor, who now lives at the displacement site with her four grandchildren.

Zimbabwe is facing humanitarian challenges as result of climatic, economic and political shocks.

Following the failed 2018/19 agricultural season due to the severe El Nino induced drought, the country is confronted with a worsening humanitarian situation with an estimated 5.5 million people in need of food aid.

“The displaced citizens, especially women and children, are the most affected by the humanitarian and economic challenges facing the country,” IOM chief of mission to Zimbabwe, Mario Lito Malanca said.

“We are working together with government to coordinate temporary camps to ensure the basic needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are met. We will continue to provide leadership to the Shelter and Non-Food Items clusters and work closely with partners leading Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health and Early Recovery clusters, Malanca said.

IOM Zimbabwe launched the February 2019-April 2020 Appeal for US$11.5 million but only managed to raise 15% of that target.

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