Cyclone ravaged Chimanimani improving – UN

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By Anna Chibamu

LIFE in Chimanimani is slowly returning to normal, with villagers putting the pieces together, after the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in March, visiting UN officials and other foreign envoys have said.

In a statement after a the two-day visit by ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe who included those from Australia, Germany, India, Portugal, South Africa, United Kingdom, and representatives of embassies of Ireland and Japan a well as UN agencies said families are adjusting but a lot still needed to be done.

“Despite the lingering challenges, with the support provided, life has taken some form of normalcy. All students are in school, health and other public services are operational, communities are striving, and road access has improved,” read part of the statement.

The development and humanitarian partners reaffirmed their commitment for continued support to the ongoing relief and recovery efforts in partnership with government, the United Nations, private sector, and on-governmental organisations.

According to the statement, the delegation noted the need for continued assistance to the Cyclone Idai affected communities, by ensuring adequate and timely response to the humanitarian flash appeal, in order to bridge the resource gap and to prevent gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse as an integral part of the ongoing relief and recovery efforts.

“There is need to expedite recovery efforts including rehabilitation of damaged classrooms, health facilities, and particularly urgent shelter support for families that are sharing rooms with other households.

“Resettlement of those in temporary camps in line with international standards of building back better and putting the affected communities’ dignity and preference in to consideration (remains key),” the UN statement added.

The delegation visited Aboretum Camp in Chimanimani where 280 people are being housed in family tents, Chimanimani Hospital, Ngangu Primary School as well as Chimanimani Hotel, which turned into a heaven for distraught villagers following the tropical storm that killed over 400 people and displaced some 50 000 more.

The objective of the field mission was to assess the work of UN agencies and humanitarian partners in support of national response to Cyclone Idai and to observe first-hand the challenges faced by affected communities.

In April this year, the UN and the humanitarian community launched an appeal requesting for US$60 million to provide support to 270,000 people affected by Cyclone Idai. Officials say the response currently stands at 45% or US$27 million.

Zimbabwe is grappling with severe drought and economic hardship affecting 5.3 million people in which the UN and humanitarian partners appealed for US$234 million targeting 2.2 million.

This brings the total humanitarian need to US$294 million targeting a total population in need of assistance to 2.47 million including victims of Cyclone Idai.