BY FARAI MATIASHE
Government, in partnership with the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) yesterday launched Cyclone Idai projects worth US$96,5 million aimed at restoring livelihoods and improving infrastructure in areas hit by the tropical storm early this year.
The two projects, namely the US$72 million Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP) and the US$24,5 million worth Post Cyclone Idai Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project (PCIREP) are being funded WB and AfDB.
Speaking at the launch in Harare yesterday, Local Government deputy minister Jennifer Mhlanga said the ZIRP project would run in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland provinces for the next three years.
“The World Bank provided US$72, million to fund ZIRP, which will be managed by the United Nations Offices of Projects Support and implemented through Food and Agriculture Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund and World Health Organisation. Pursuant to the above, the next three years will see ZIRP supporting the restoration of livelihoods, focusing on the nine worst affected districts in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland provinces,” she said.
“Furthermore, during our deliberations with the World Bank, a decision was made to set aside US$40 million of the US$72 million for food importation for the Cylone Idai affected districts. It remains my sincere hope that the US$40 million will be set aside to assist the government in dealing with the current drought disaster.”
Mhlanga said in the same vein, the AfDB provided US$24,5 million for the PCIREP. The project focuses on rehabilitating public infrastructure, including the replacement of transformers, construction of water and sanitation facilities, reconstruction of roads and bridges, reconstruction of electricity substations and lines.
She said the government was assuring stakeholders full co-operation to ensure the smooth implementation and ultimate success of the project through joint monitoring and evaluation programmes.
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AfDB principal country economist Walter Odero said more resources were needed to ensure full restoration of people’s livelihoods in Cyclone Idai-hit areas.
“While the combined intervention of US$24,5 million by the AfDB and the US$72 million from the World Bank might appear substantial to address the issues of lost livelihoods and partial restoration of the damaged infrastructure in the affected communities, in reality, it is not. Much more is needed to ensure that people go back to the livelihoods they had before the disaster struck,” he said.
Odero said AfDB was planning to contribute US$700 000 to a project under Africa disaster risk financing to address climate risk management solutions and supporting access to sovereign risk Transfer solutions.
He said it was AfDB’s resolve to move immediately into the project implementation stage, and bring palpable relief in the affected areas.
The two projects are set to benefit more than 270 000 people affected by Cyclone Idai.
In March this year, Cyclone Idai destroyed approximately 50 000 homes and displaced over 60 000 people in the country, causing US$622 million worth of damage.
It is estimated that up to US$1,11 billion is needed to support Zimbabwe’s recovery.