Acting Chimanimani District Development Coordinator (DDC), Tauona Nengomasha, has called for the speedy completion of the Cyclone Idai rehabilitation projects, saying the district is yet to recover from the natural disaster.
Chimanimani District was one of the areas that bore the brunt of Cyclone Idai when it struck in March 2019 as heavy rains and landslides washed entire houses away, killing lives and livelihoods.
Cyclone Idai was declared a state of disaster by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on March 15, 2019, after it affected more than 270 000 people leaving 341 dead and many others missing in Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands and Mashonaland East.
During a tour of some projects in Chimanimani District last week as part of developmental reporting organised by the United Nations in Mutare, the DDC lamented some projects were still outstanding.
“I understand there are some projects implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the Zimbabwe Cyclone Idai Recovery Project, we would want as a district to speed up the process and close the chapter on Cyclone Idai. It’s now close to three years and we are talking about the same issue. We need to close this book,” he said.
Nengomasha encouraged partners to attach further urgency in the completion of the infrastructure.
“We know there are time frames. Can we quickly complete the project within the stipulated time frame. If we say the project is ending in October 2022, let’s make sure the road will be complete. We can’t be talking about the same project for two long years. Things must be done quickly,” he said while expressing concern on the use of manual labour in road rehabilitation.
“In Ward 16, I see there is the construction of Tiya Road. I don’t understand how we ended up using manual labour to construct manual roads, and feeder roads, I don’t know how that decision came into practice. Even though I’m not an engineer I think road engineering requires a lot of equipment. We need to carry the graders, and tractors, put them on-site and do work that is necessary. Tiya is a key road because it links communities and social amenities such as schools and clinics.”
The DDC noted that Chimanimani is rugged terrain, in mountainous areas where most of the time it was raining.
“If you mobilise 20 people to go pick stones and line up the road using manual labour, what time are they going to finish. Most of the time, it’s raining and the road is not passable. In future, whenever we mention roads whatever the nature or status, let’s put in the necessary equipment,” Nengomasha said.
United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator to Zimbabwe, Edward Kallon, said the Cyclone Idai Recovery Project was one of the projects that were brought to his attention when he arrived in the country.
He said the interesting aspect of the UN response to a disaster was the agency was testing out a new model where all UN agencies were put together into a consortium working as one.
“The merits of that model results in a drastic reduction in overhead costs compared to individual agencies doing the programmes, cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of that particular model of investment,” Kallon said, noting the UN was yet to see if the model had added value.