Ambassadors visit cyclone-hit areas
Rumbidzayi Zinyuke and Daniel Mhonda
There is need to continue providing support to victims of Cyclone Idai to enable them to be self-sufficient as soon as possible, United Nations Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Bishow Parajuli has said.
He was speaking after a tour of Chimanimani by eight ambassadors of different nations to Zimbabwe as well as representatives from various development agencies.
The delegation comprised of Ambassadors Melanie Robinson (UK), Ms Bronte Moules (Australia), Dr Thorsten Hutter (Germany), Rungsung Masakui (India), Dr Miguel de Calheiros Velozo (Portugal) and Mr Mphakama Mbete (South Africa) as well as representatives from the embassies of Ireland and Japan.
The objective of the visit was for the delegation to have an appreciation of the situation in the affected areas and identify gaps in terms of humanitarian assistance.
“I am here with a team of ambassadors, development partners and the UN who have been funding some of the programmes here in Chimanimani. They were keen to see progress and get an appreciation of the work being done on the ground,” he said.
“We need to continue helping these people so that they can stand on their own. This needs to be done as soon as possible.”
The delegation visited the Aboretum Camp in Chimanimani where 148 people are being housed in family tents. They also visited Chimanimani Hospital, Ngangu Primary School as well as Chimanimani Hotel, which provided shelter for hundreds of villagers who were stranded during the cyclone.
Chimanimani District Administrator Mr John Misi said Government was doing everything possible to make sure that all the displaced people were relocated to permanent homes. He said although land had been identified, Government was still mobilising funds for the construction of houses.
“Resources permitting, we want to see these people moved from these camps. We have partners who have come forward to say they will support in the construction of houses in rural areas, but our challenge is that we have not yet secured funding for those in urban areas,” he said.
He reassured the delegation that the relocation of people would be done in consultation with the victims.
The delegation pointed out that Government should consider things such as proximity to schools, roads and the victims’ source of livelihoods when the relocation eventually kicks off.
Earlier, the team paid a courtesy call on the Provincial administrator Mr Edgars Seenza, who briefed them on some of the gaps Government had identified.
Mr Seenza said there was need for Government and development partners to focus on housing and dietary needs for the victims, with special focus on children under the age of five.
“There is need for us to do proper planning in terms of rebuilding the affected communities. We do not want to move our people for example from Ngangu to a place that is equally bad or inappropriate. Hence, we have a team from Harare who are carrying out an assessment of the internal structure of the land where we want to resettle our people. They will also do geo-physical tests of the areas which we will take people,” he said.