Leroy Dzenga Herald Reporter
Government has assured Cyclone Idai survivors living in temporary accommodation that they are working on a sustainable housing solution for them following the availing of a US$2million fund received from China through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Two hundred and twenty-four families have been living in tents since March last year.
Addressing delegates at the launch of the Post Disaster Restoration Assistance Fund, Local Government and Public Works, Minister July Moyo said the fund would accelerate the process of rebuilding the houses.
The money will be directed towards roofing materials for 237 rural houses, seven clinics, eight staff houses, 66 toilets at 44 schools and 30 classroom blocks.
“Government has raised $20 million for the relocation programme and work is already in progress towards construction of some houses and requisite social amenities for the distressed communities in Chimanimani who are still living in tents.
“We have said as a Government there should not be half-hearted efforts. People should move from tents into permanent homes,” Minister Moyo said.
The relocated families will get houses on large land portions to enable them to eke a living through horticulture projects.
Besides resources, another cause for delay was scientific considerations behind relocating people.
“Government learnt one lesson under Cyclone Idai that you cannot settle people haphazardly. To address some of the challenges in Chimanimani and Chipinge, Government undertook some geophysical surveys which resulted in four places being identified, especially in Chimanimani that are suitable for resettling the affected communities.
“I want us to make sure that where we resettle people we can also give them confidence that scientific work has been carried out and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has provided us with maps that we will share with our cooperating partners,” Minister Moyo added.
Four places that were deemed safe are West End Farm, The Flats, Nedzihwa and Greenmount, all in Chimanimani District.
Asked to provide dates on when these plans would crystalise into reality, Minister Moyo said the public would be furnished with the timelines in due course, as there were still outstanding engagement processes with stakeholders.
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said there was still work to be done for the full restoration of past lives in the affected areas.
“At the moment 224 families are still living in tents whilst 346 are homeless, living outside the camp with some relatives.
“This intervention has come at the right time because my office has been inundated by questions as to when people living in tents are going to be moved into permanent homes,” Dr Gwaradzimba said.
UNDP resident representative Georges van Montfort said they were committed to supporting Government’s “build back better” plan for the people of Chimanimani.
“UNDP looks forward to the next six months of delivering this support to vulnerable communities in Chipinge and Chimanimani. It is our hope that at the conclusion of the project we would have contributed to the restoration of dignity and set the base for long term recovery of the affected communities,” Montfort said.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun said his country’s support is testament to the long-standing relationship between the two countries.
“As a responsible member of the international society and the all-weather friend of Zimbabwe, China has been doing its best to provide all kinds of assistance to Zimbabwe,” Ambassador Guo said.
Ambassador Guo made a pledge of 30 000 Covid-19 test kits, which he said would be delivered within 10 days.