By Staff Reporter
OVER 2 700 Cyclone Idai survivors have, since March this year, received psychosocial and mental support in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts in the wake of a disaster that killed hundreds and left more homeless.
According to the latest situation report on Cyclone Idai affected areas produced by the United Nations Office for Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a total of 2 790 individuals seeking mental health assistance had been reached since the beginning of the response.
“Psychosocial and mental health support to humanitarian workers and communities has not been addressed fully and there is a need for inclusion of this component in the recovery plan to help the communities to build back better,” says the report, which covers the period of May 14 to 21.
OCHA said the mental health challenges were due to lack of long-term rehabilitation plans, harsh conditions, gender-based violence and the fear of losing property.
Humanitarian aid workers operating in the affected areas were also in need of psychosocial and mental assistance.
“With recent re-opening of schools, it is essential to reach out to the youth at schools and colleges to inform them in regard to mental health literacy, trauma care and also in protection against sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA).
“The psychosocial response to all affected persons including children and parents needs improved internal coordination within the psychosocial working group at field level and with other sectors in coordination with the health and education clusters to ensure our interventions respect the standard, quality service delivery and avoid overlapping,” reads the report.
OCHA also called for high-level interventions over the continued presence of the armed forces in the affected districts.
“Though reduced, at school facilities in Chimanimani there are reports of (armed forces) involvement in humanitarian response.”
Cyclone Idai, the worst weather induced disaster to hit the Southern African region in over two decades, caused massive damage to the environment, infrastructure while also destroying homes and livelihoods.