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One Year On: Cyclone Idai Victims Live Under Appalling Conditions

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By Anna Chibamu

A YEAR after Cyclone Idai ravaged parts of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, tens of thousands of people are still trapped in appalling conditions with inadequate shelter or sanitation, Amnesty International has reported.

In a statement, Amnesty International said inadequate and dwindling financial support for recovery programmes from the international community, and the slow pace of government rebuilding efforts across the three countries had left people stranded in makeshift accommodation, at risk of diseases like cholera and in some cases unable to access roads.

“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,” Tigere Chagutah, the Amnesty International deputy director for East and Southern Africa said.

“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.”

He added: “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.”

Amnesty international attributed the challenges faced by the survivors to under-funding by donors as only less than half of the US$450 million needed for relief and recovery assistance was secured.

According to Chagutah, in Zimbabwe, the second hardest hit country of the three, many affected people were still living in makeshift tents in camps set up by the UN Refugee Agency.

At a regional climate change meeting in Mutare organised by Amnesty International, survivors from the three affected countries narrated how they had lost their entire livelihoods and were relying on donor aid for survival.

Cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in mid-March last year and more than 1 000 people were killed while more than three million were left without food, water, schools, clinics and shelter.