Following the devastation in Zimbabwe caused by Cyclone Idai, the European Union has contributed €250,000 (US$ 281,035) to UNICEF to provide vital water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies to vulnerable children and families in flood-affected districts.
The cyclone affected some 270,000 people (half of them children) in the districts of Chimanimani and Chipinge, in Manicaland Province, creating an immediate need for safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and hygiene materials. With limited access to basic WASH services, pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with disabilities are especially at risk of infectious diseases such as cholera and diarrhea.
Cyclone Idai flooding destroyed the water distribution system in affected areas, with some 13 pumping stations no longer functional and over 200 boreholes seriously damaged or swept away. Well over 100 schools lost access to sanitation facilities in areas where sanitation coverage was already low (43 percent in Chipinge and 46 percent in Chimanimani).
The EU contribution will support the distribution of water purification tablets and soap to households, schools and health institutions, the rehabilitation and repair of critical water supply networks, and where needed, the drilling of boreholes and the construction of new water points.
In addition, to promote good sanitation and hygiene practices in the affected areas, temporary sanitation and hand washing facilities are being set up at holding camps; participatory health and hygiene education and awareness is being conducted in communities; and refresher training with critical lifesaving water, sanitation and hygiene messages is taking place for environmental health technicians, village health workers and community health workers.