Minister Chitando celebrates Zim Idai Recovery Project for its successes

By Pamela Jetie

THE government is impressed by the US$72 million Zimbabwe Idai recovery aimed at cushioning affected families in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces, Local Government and Public Works Minster Hon Winston Chitando has said.

He was speaking on Friday at the handover of Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP) documents, designs and manuals to Government in Harare.

The four-year US$72 million project, was implemented by the World Bank through various partners in March 2019 following the devastating effects caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai.

The Minister said that he was impressed by the fact that the close out ceremony was celebrating the success of the programme.

“The Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP) came as a result of the devastating effects of Tropical Cyclone Idai which affected Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East. As you may be aware, the ZIRP was implemented in response to the devastation necessitated by Tropical Cyclone Idai in March 2019 in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces,” Hon Chitando said.

The tropical disaster was declared a State of disaster by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and this saw Zimbabwe receiving tremendous intervention from the international community.

 “A clarion call to the international community for intervention was made by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Dr E.D. Mnangagwa when he declared Tropical Cyclone Idai State of Disaster in accordance with the Civil Protection Act, Chapter 10:06. Indeed, the country received overwhelming humanitarian assistance, of which the ZIRP is one of the major projects implemented in the nine affected districts,” he said.

“Noteworthy, are projects that were implemented across all the affected sectors namely Transport; Disaster Management; Agriculture; Social Protection; Housing; Environment; Water Supply and Sanitation. The main goal of ZIRP was to address the early and medium-term resilient disaster recovery needs of the people affected by Cyclone Idai in Bikita, Buhera, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Chikomba, Gutu, Mutasa, Mutare Urban and Mutare Rural. I am pleased to say that the needs of our communities have been addressed.”

Hon Chitando said ZIRP employed a multi-sectoral approach which utilised an integrated and holistic strategy coordinated by the Government.

This, Minister Chitando said, enabled successful coordination in providing food assistance, restoring agricultural crops and livestock production, and accelerating the revitalisation of basic health service.

He added: “In addition, the approach was effective in enabling medium-term recovery and resilience-building as well as gender mainstreaming in the implementation of ZIRP, which resulted in temporary income opportunities for the women.”

Government highly commended ZIRP for not only addressing needs of communities but also providing employment opportunities to affected locals.

“Government is pleased by the fact that the project did not only address the needs of affected communities, but also provided employment opportunities to the local people, which was a step in the right direction to foster earnings at a time when livelihood projects had been decimated.”

Various projects were successfully implemented under ZIRP and these include dip tanks, piped water schemes, irrigation schemes and access roads while bridges were rehabilitated/constructed. Critical infrastructure in hospitals, clinics and schools was also provided under the massive project.

The project impacted on the lives of some 77 000 people in the hard-hit districts.

“Rehabilitation of irrigation schemes, provision of agricultural inputs, restocking of livestock and vaccination, provision of acaricides, setting up of nutritional gardens, Black Soldier Fly projects, among other resilience-building projects, will go a long way in improving livelihoods and food security in the affected communities,” Hon Chitando said.

In addition, Hon Chitando said that climate change was real and encouraged communities to ‘build right first time’.

He further stated that guided by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Reduction (2015) and the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1, infrastructure development should address the ‘build-back-better’ to guarantee resilience in the face of climate shocks.  

He commended Government efforts, the donor community and multi-lateral financial institutions in recapitalizing the Meteorological Services Department which was now better placed in providing accurate weather forecasts.

However, the minister stated that more support was still required to continue enhancing Early Warning Systems.

Hon Chitando urged Government to put measures to ensure food security following the 2023/24 forecast.

“In the wake of the Elnino climate phenomenon with a forecast of normal to below normal rainfall in Southern Africa including Zimbabwe during the 2023/24 Rainfall Season, Government should put in place measures that ensure food security for citizens.

Speaking at the same occasion, former Secretary for Local Government and Public Works, Mr Zvinechimwe Ruvinga Churu, expressed gratitude for the successful implementation of the ZIRP project.

“It is a happy ending and those involved from the beginning can testify that it was not easy,” Mr Churu said.

“I would like to commend the World Bank and the eight Project Partners who are FAO, IOM, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS, WFP and WHO for making the ZIRP a success. It would be remiss on my part not to mention the participation of other partners, agencies, communities and individuals in the execution of this massive project,” Mr Churu said.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr Edward Kallon in sharing the success story indicated that it was not going to be possible for the involved partners to successfully implement ZIRP without the coordination by the Zimbabwe Government.

ZIRP project documents, designs and manuals were handed over to the Department of Civil Protection The event was attended by stakeholders from across all Government Ministries, development partners and the media.