By NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE European Union (EU) has availed €7 million for disaster management response to Zimbabwe and other southern African countries that are failing to attend to natural disasters.
Government’s disaster management response came under the spotlight when Cyclone Idai barrelled through the country, killing hundreds of people and destroying infrastructure, including roads and schools.
The Department of Civil Protection (DCP), the country’s disaster management response unit, was only allocated US$2,335 million in the 2019 budget, which analysts have said is inadequate.
The EU said the €7 million for disaster management was for southern African countries such as Malawi and Mozambique and the Indian Ocean region’s Comoros that were affected by Cyclone Idai, Zimbabwe included.
“Investing in natural disaster preparedness is an investment to save lives when the next crisis hits,” humanitarian aid and crisis management commissioner Christos Stylianides said in a Press release.
“The Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region is particularly vulnerable. Through our new aid package, the EU is also supporting modern technologies such as drones as we increasingly see how they can save lives during emergencies when every minute counts.”
According to the EU, the aid package will assist disaster management units and authorities in improving the preparedness and response capacities in natural disasters and using technology and innovative approaches in disaster preparedness, among others.
Meanwhile, the EU also announced that it is providing an additional €10 million in funding to Zimbabwe to address humanitarian needs in the country, arising from a combination of weather-related disasters such as the recent cyclone and drought.
The EU support, coming in the face of a harsh economic climate characterised by high food prices, will focus on food assistance, health care, water and sanitation, resilience-building and support for vulnerable people’s livelihoods.