Concerns over Cyclone Idai recovery efforts bias

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

The ongoing recovery efforts by government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and development partners among many other stakeholders have been viewed as  biased in some instances.

This was heard at a workshop organised by Oxfam to mark the World Humanitarian Day  on Monday which coincided with the launch of  the organisation’ s policy paper documenting Cyclone Idai‘s impact, interventions and post implications.

Speaking at the workshop,Chimanimani  chief executive officer  Nehemiah Deure  whose district  was one of the hardest hit by the Cyclone Idai  revealed that reconstruction of  households affected by the natural hazard has been skewed towards rural households leaving urbanites in despair.

“What we have witnessed is that while we have many urbanites who lost their homes in Chipinge during the Cyclone Idai there has been a few takers among donor agencies and the corporate world to lead in the reconstruction process but are stampeding to help out the rural folk, ”he said.

The Chipinge Council has already set up a 2-year recovery plan which requires close to US$8 million which at the moment has not found benefactors .

Zimbabwe’s leading mobile operator has already identified a place to rebuild 500 houses for Cyclone Idai victims in rural communities which will be a three-bed-roomed house electrified  and each family entitled to  a one-hectare yard.

The Chipinge district development coordinator (DDC) formerly DA William Mashava also weighed in saying that while psychological support has been rendered to victims of Cyclone Idai  , humanitarian aid workers have been excluded despite that they are equally affected psychologically.

“It is disheartening that psycho-social support  is being administered only to victims of Cyclone Idai while not considering the humanitarian  workers  are being excluded despite that  they need are prone to also suffer psychologically,” revealed the Chipinge DCC.

The bias could be as a result of development partners bypassing state institutions when  rendering assistance, according to Chipinge chief executive officer Blessing Mamvosha.

“There is the inherent need for central government, donor agencies and development partners to consult us local authorities when doing interventions so that we avoid instances of more help being biased towards areas which need less interventions, ”proffered Mamvosha.

The policy paper by Oxfam titled ‘Cyclone Idai: An analysis of its Impact, Responses  and the Implications for post-disaster institutional development in Zimbabwe’  was prepared by Dr Kudzai Chatiza  recommends several policy recommendations  for disaster risk management. This include ‘clear funding for disaster risk assessment research and analysis within an integrated framework that draws on scientific evidence and indigenous knowledge systems focused on understanding reducing disaster risks’.