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Almost 60 000 Zimbabweans still homeless, eight months after tragic Cyclone Idai

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Thousands of Zimbabweans are struggling to secure permanent shelter and revive their sources of livelihood, nearly eight months after their homes were destroyed by Cyclone Idai earlier this year.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said some 223 households were still living in tents in 12 districts in eastern Zimbabwe and are in desperate need of permanent homes.

The families are part of the 50 905 people displaced by the cyclone that devastated parts of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi in March.

“We are working together with the Government of Zimbabwe to coordinate temporary camps to ensure the basic needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are met,” IOM chief of mission in Zimbabwe, Mario Lito Malanca, said.

He said women and children are among the most affected by the crisis and desperately need assistance.

Some of those affected said they lived in constant fear of another disaster.

“The rainy season is upon us; some of our tents are giving in to harsh weather conditions. I don’t know what will happen to me and my grandchildren,” said Johana, a grandmother of four, who lost her two sons during the cyclone.

She added that they were in desperate need of support as their livelihoods were swept away by the mudslides.

“We have no source of income; our fields and livestock went with the mudslides. We used to have thriving market gardens but now we depend on well-wishers to give us food,” she said.

Malanca said efforts to restore livelihoods and rebuild homes and other infrastructure are being hampered by lack of funds.

An international humanitarian appeal for 11.5 million dollars launched by IOM Zimbabwe earlier this year is currently only funded at 15 percent.

Zimbabwe is facing humanitarian challenges as a result of climate and economic shocks. Following the failed 2018–2019 agricultural season due to a severe El Niño-induced drought, the country is confronted with a worsening humanitarian situation with an estimated 5.5 million people in need of food assistance.

The crisis is worsened by the shortage of foreign currency for critical imports, limited essential services such as water, power and fuel supply which has impacted commerce and industry.

Inflation estimated at over 200 percent and ever-increasing prices of most basic commodities including food, medicine and other essential products have placed many households, especially in rural areas where 60 percent of the population resides, under increased strain.

– APA

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