Pressure group calls for climate justice post-Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani

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By Alois Vinga

THE Network for Environmental and Climate Justice (NECJ) has implored authorities to employ rights-centred climate justice policies to bring closure to the fatal impact of Cyclone Idai.

The lobby group’s sentiments come on the back of revelations that at least 279 individuals were reported missing since Cyclone Idai hit Chimanimani district in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province in 2019 and will likely be declared dead.

This follows an order being sought at the Mutare High Court by the Attorney General, Virginia Mabiza who has mounted a class action on behalf of families of the missing persons as part of efforts to bring closure.

In recent interactions with the Chimanimani community, NECJ established that the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai led to mental health problems as villagers continued to struggle with loss and grief.

“Disasters associated with climate change often increase social inequalities while crippling social justice and this is the case of Chimanimani post Cyclone Idai. Therefore, it is essential to note that efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change should conform to human rights norms and principles,” NECJ said in a statement.

The grouping said such programs must include the rights to participation and information, transparency, accountability, equity, and non-discrimination.

“The human rights framework must be part of efforts towards Climate Justice in Chimanimani. Affected individuals and communities must be allowed to participate, without discrimination, in the design and implementation of climate justice programmes,” said the lobby group.

The group said there is a need to ensure meaningful and informed participation on climate change and its related disasters by the Chimanimani community and the government must make early-warning information regarding climate effects and natural disasters available to all sectors of the society.

NECJ also called for the adaptation and mitigation plans should be publicly available, transparently financed and developed in consultation with the affected community is in line with the concept of community solutions to community problems.