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‘Southern Africa Needs A Proactive Approach On Disaster Reduction’

Southern African countries have been called upon to move towards a hands on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) approach to mitigate the impacts of climate change induced cyclones and flooding.

Speaking during the signing ceremony of the comprehensive resilience building project as part of the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP), UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa Prof Hubert Gijzen said there is need for adequate flood monitoring.

“As demonstrated by the impacts of these cyclones, there is a clear need in the Southern African Region to move towards a more proactive Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Therefore, a more focused effort is needed to provide more adequate flood monitoring and early warning capacities for Zimbabwe and to strengthen long term resilience building to water-related hazards.” Said Prof Gijzen

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) Country Manager (and Project Implementation Unit Manager) Djibrilla Mazin said communities in Chimanimani and Chipinge are looking to the project in the wake of cyclone Idai.

“The communities in the cyclone affected areas are looking to ZIRP to shield them from devastation in future floods and landslides. With UNESCO as an implementing partner for ZIRP, I have full confidence that we will successfully deliver this mandate

“Beyond recovery, resilience building is an important aspect of ZIRP for community level structural risk reduction and mitigation efforts. It is clear with the occurence of Cyclone Eloise, Cyclone Chalane, as well as the protracted rainy season this year; that we need to urgently address the challenges of climate change.” said Mazin

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World Bank co-Task Team Leader for Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project Tonderai Mukonoweshuro the response to cyclone were part of their mandate.

“Three priorities guide our work as the World Bank with countries as we seek to end poverty and boost prosperity for the poorest people, helping create sustainable economic growth, investing in people, building resilience to shocks and threats that can roll back decades of progress.

“We were therefore quick to respond when Idai hit, assessing the damage and developing the Zimbabwe Rapid Impact and Needs Assessment which has now become the framework for the recovery response Following the assistance appeal by the Government, the World Bank provided a grant of $72 million to support recovery efforts in the cyclone Idai affected areas through the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project managed by UNOPS.” Mukonoweshuro said.

In 2019, Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe, was hit by two subsequent cyclones, cyclone Idai and cyclone Kenneth that left a trail of destruction in their path. It is estimated that Cyclone Idai and subsequent flooding destroyed more than $773 million in buildings, infrastructure, and crops. More than 100, 000 homes were damaged or destroyed.

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