Cyclone Idai Exposes Zimbabwe Govt’s Poor Disaster Management

A villager is stranded in Chimanimani as cyclone Idai continues.

Dozens of people mostly villagers from the country’s eastern highlands have reportedly died and many others are missing as tropical cyclone Ida hits the troubled Southern African country.

Despite very clear warnings of an imminent disaster accurate weather updates, the Zimbabwean government failed to take precautionary measures to avoid the loss of lives.

There was a clear indication that the Cyclone which had razed down Mozambique’s port of Beira was heading towards Zimbabwe, sending full-screen signals of an acute disaster at bay.

Reports reaching Allnet Africa from Chimanimani – one of the most affected areas- indicate that hundreds of people are in need of humanitarian assistance with many having lost their homes, livestock and crops.

“The situation here is dire and all our houses and crops have been swept away and many people are missing here,” a villager from Chimanimani told Allnet Africa today (Sunday 17th of March).

Following mounting pressure President Mnangagwa has cut short his trip to the Middle East to attend to the crisis back home.

Former Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo on twitter blasted Mnangagwa saying, “He should not have gone in the first place. As he was flying out, the cyclone was flying in. It’s better to shorten his luxury trip than to shorten the lives of citizens, which he has vowed to do!”

Zimbabwe’s opposition through its spokesperson Jacob Mafume, blamed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for failing to react in time and avert loss of lives.

The Opposition argues that the government should have:

  1. At the bare minimum the cyclone should have been declared a National disaster earlier. This allows the unlocking of more resources to assist those in need. The reluctant approach adopted by government is reflection of negligence.
  2. The government must adequately inform citizens with the same intensity that Mnangagwa and his henchmen had when they sought election.
  3. State intervention on disaster response should have kicked in by now, on a massive scale.
  4. There is need to establish hotlines for those seeking help and constant updates. At the moment there is no line of communication.
  5. In the medium to long term the Civil protection unit has to be equipped to be responsive in times of disasters. At the present moment it is not helpful to citizens – the Battlefields disaster also buttresses this fact.
  6. In the meantime the MDC calls for urgent assistance in the form of tents , food, blankets to the affected families specifically in the Eastern Highlands where houses have been washed away.