CiZC Statement on Zimbabwe’s Disaster Preparedness

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to improve its disaster management and response mechanisms in a bid to cushion citizens from the adverse effects of natural disasters such as the floods experienced this year following Cyclone Dineo and the typhoid outbreaks.

Our call for prioritizing disaster management comes in the wake of the floods that left hundreds of families homeless in Manicaland, Matabeleland South and parts of Harare. The floods were as a result of Cyclone Dineo which rocked the country beginning of January 2017.

We note that since the turn of the millennium citizens have been bearing the brunt of natural disasters and the continued suffering among citizens points to an absence of a disaster management framework. Three years after the devastating floods in Chingwizi, citizens continue to live in squalor and temporary shelters amid unending land disputes at relocation sites.

We also contend that the recent donations by President Mugabe to the people of Sipepa in Tsholotsho clearly show a leadership devoid of the needs of citizens when faced with disasters. Any disaster response initiative must establish a baseline on the needs of the society and populations affected and develop responses informed by the needs of the affected.

CiZC implores the government to develop and implement a comprehensive disaster management strategy that will see the nation organizing, allocating and managing sufficient resources and responsibilities in dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies, in particular preparedness, response and recovery in order to lessen the impact of Cyclone Dineo and other disasters that might affect the country in future.

We restate our clarion call for a modern, equal and pluralist society where everyone enjoys equal opportunities in life. Characteristics of the society that we envisage are competitive Health institutions that are adequately equipped and staffed to ensure that there is medical care for all in line with section 76 (1) of the Constitution. Health planning for disaster preparedness must conform to the 15% budget allocation recommended by the Africa Union (AU) Abuja Declaration of 2001.

We also recommend that in the medium to long term the state must establish a National Disaster Social Security Insurance scheme that is publicly funded to ensure that social safety nets are available to every citizen and has a deliberate emphasis on a rapid response fund for areas affected by disasters.

The envisaged disaster management framework should seek to save lives, protect livelihoods, and prepare for and recover from disasters and crises, enable healthy and safer living.

In addition, Zimbabwe must bear tenets of a welfare state that prioritizes the social protection of all its citizens. As a result, the state must provide social assistance to the vulnerable such as the elderly, children, war veterans, unemployed and women in the form of substantial emergency food programmes and shelter for the affected citizen. Of importance is to develop state welfare programmes that are inclusive and non-partisan.

In the absence of a clear disaster management and response framework, CiZC remains deeply concerned that citizens will remain vulnerable to natural disasters.

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