More than 61 000 people in drought-prone Mberengwa district have benefitted from various drought relief projects jointly launched by Oxfam Zimbabwe, the European Union’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHA), following last year’s devastating Cyclone Dineo-induced floods.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
The projects included provision of safe drinking water, awareness on good health and hygiene and unconditional multi-purpose cash assistance to meet the emerging needs of households with damaged or destroyed homes.
Other activities implemented, as part of the humanitarian response included the rehabilitation of water points and training of water points committees, as well as promotion of health and hygiene through water conservation messaging.
In a statement, Oxfam Zimbabwe country director, Machinda Marongwe urged the government to introduce reliable early warning systems to prepare communities and the donors for disasters.
“We encourage the government to ensure that reliable early warning systems are put in place for known disasters like floods, drought and epidemics since responding to disasters costs way more than investing in disaster preparedness. This will ensure that when disasters happen vulnerable communities are found better prepared,” he said.
European Union head of delegation to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme disclosed that the bloc had provided $342 500 to Oxfam, to help families and vulnerable people get back on their feet and give them tools and knowledge to stand in the face of unpredictable weather patterns.
“After a two-year El Niño induced drought, followed by heavy rains and flooding worsened by the effects of Cyclone Dineo, many communities in Zimbabwe were left unable to cope and sustain their livelihoods,” he said.
To address long term effects, the project held trainings on disaster risk management and contributed towards the development of disaster risk management plans in Mberengwa gistrict.
Government early this year declared the floods a national disaster and appealed for international assistance amounting to $189 million, to meet both the immediate and long-term needs of affected communities.
So far, the EU member states have mobilised $126,4 million, for drought-relief and flood response in Zimbabwe.