PRESS RELEASE: Friday 13 March 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Friday 13 March 2020

One year on: Cyclone Idai recovery efforts continue in Zimbabwe

In March 2019, Cyclone Idai destroyed approximately 50,000 households and displaced over 60,000 people in the country, causing as much as $622 million worth of damage according to the Rapid Impact and Needs Assessment (RINA).

The World Bank has financed a major multisector recovery project, managed by UNOPS and implemented through United Nations technical leads: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO).

The World Bank has provided $72 million for the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP), focused on restoring livelihoods and communities targeting more than 270,000 people affected by Cyclone Idai.

Under the umbrella of the ZIRP, WFP assisted a total of 181,437 people as of February 2020 that have benefited from conditional and unconditional food assistance in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts. Through the conditional cash transfer component WFP rehabilitated 13 community sites including watershed, construction of check dams, stone bunds, terracing, dams linked to nutrition gardens or irrigation schemes in addition to re-afforestation efforts.

Through the FAO food security interventions 1,882 tonnes of agricultural inputs (maize seed, cowpea seed, sorghum seed, basal fertilizer and top-dressing fertilizer) were distributed, benefiting a total of 6,400 people in Chimanimani, Chipinge, Buhera and Mutare districts. To restore livestock production, FAO also distributed 805 tonnes of stock feed for 2,981 breeding cattle to 1,073 households, including 303 female-headed households.
Through WHO health interventions, a total of 2877 beneficiaries were reached with health services, 816 were sensitized on prevention of malnutrition, malaria and water borne diseases, and 368 stakeholders were sensitized on ZIRP in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts. Furthermore, to enhance capacity and strengthen surveillance systems in response to early and timely detection of epidemic prone diseases an epidemiologist was recruited to strengthen and build capacity on Integrated Disease Surveillance Response (IDSR) at district and provincial level.  A total of seven mission hospitals in Chimanimani and Chipinge received supervision support in the implementation of ZIRP interventions.

In collaboration with Provincial and District Health teams, UNICEF Health delivered ongoing intensive health training in essential health information, basic maternal, newborn and child health services and referrals to 80 village health workers in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts. These 75 women and 5 men are now serving in their districts. UNICEF WASH has completed damage assessments to WASH infrastructure and has identified partners for the process of building water and sanitation systems back better.

Of note, UNICEF Education in collaboration with UNOPS Community Infrastructure identified and assessed 12 high priority schools (Dzingire Primary, Vhimba Primary, Ndakopa Primary, Hode Primary, Hlabiso Primary, Kushinga Primary, Kushinga Secondary, Manase Primary, Mukombiwa Secondary, Chikukwa Primary, Charleswood Primary, & Ngangu Primary) in Chimanimani district for rehabilitation.

There is still much to be done during the projected three-year project duration and UNOPS with its partners continue efforts that are less visible but vital to the sustainability of the projects. These include detailed assessments, pre-qualification of contractors for longer-term community infrastructure including roads, bridges and culverts which will be built back better than what existed before Cyclone Idai struck.

Rainer Frauenfeld, Director of the UNOPS Kenya Multi-Country Office stated:
“It is a painful memory for those who lost loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods to Cyclone Idai. The journey to recovery has been long and there is still much to be done. This multi-agency, multisectoral approach to disaster recovery, through ZIRP, is complex. However, we believe it is the best approach possible as we aim not simply to restore what was lost but to build back better, smarter and stronger so that communities are more resilient to future hazards.”

Mukami Kariuki, World Bank Country Manager for Zimbabwe said:
“We recall with sadness the devastation that befell the affected communities and reflect on how the world was moved to assist. There is still a lot to be done through the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project. The community that the Project has reached have demonstrated incredible resilience in the face of loss and come together to work towards the recovery effort. We are grateful to the different agencies and authorities with whom we work to implement this multi-sectoral project. Together we have developed a unified response to help communities build back better and restore livelihoods.”

Notes to the editors:
Press contact details:
Ms. Gennike MAYERS, Communications Specialist,, +263 788 933 127

About the World Bank
With 189 member countries the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership: five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries. The Bank Group’s work (financing, policy advice and technical assistance) touches nearly every sector that is important to fighting poverty, supporting economic growth, and ensuring sustainable gains in the quality of people’s lives in developing countries.  While sound project selection and design remain paramount, the Bank Group recognizes a wide range of factors that are critical to success—effective institutions, sound policies, continuous learning through evaluation and knowledge-sharing, and partnership, including with the private sector.
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UNOPS mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development. We help the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, and deliver sustainable infrastructure and procurement in an efficient way. Read more: 

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