Historical Background Courtesy of our Implementation Partner Simukai Child Protection Program
Cyclone Idai ravaged three (3) Southern Africa countries namely Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi to an extent that thousands of lives were lost, thousands left homeless, and all infrastructure for the surviving households completely or partially destroyed to an extend that these shelters are no longer safe for human or animal habitation. This means that the fundamental basic human needs were taken away within a blink of an eye. This took away a source of their human rights. Human rights reflect the minimum standards necessary for people to live with dignity. Human rights give people the freedom to choose how they live, how they express themselves, and what kind of government they want to support, among many other things. Human rights also guarantee people the means necessary to satisfy their basic needs, such as food, housing, and education, so they can take full advantage of all opportunities. Finally, by guaranteeing life, liberty, equality, and security, human rights protect people against abuse by those who are more powerful.
According to the United Nations, human rights: “Ensure that a human being will be able to fully develop and use human qualities such as intelligence, talent, and conscience and satisfy his or her spiritual and other
Indeed the nations responded overwhelmingly with internal inventions. Harare Synod was among the Christian communities that also responded internally by raising assistance in kind towards the Victims of Cyclone in Zimbabwe and in Malawi the country where CCAP originated from. As the Synod is not in a position to assist financially because of its standing it reached out to Partners across the globe for assistance. The first intervention saw the same partners sending in different amounts towards the call for help which is being used to construct a borehole and replacement and repairs to toilets for the refugees at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge. A total of USD 14, 000.00 was pooled for this purpose. While the nation focused on the nationals it became evident that the attention given to the Refugees plight was left to the UNHCR and they had failed to raise enough funds to mitigate in the Refugee Camp. CCAP Harare Synod is mostly a church of migrants from Malawi and understands the plight of being a foreigner hence the gravitation to mitigate. This assistance was rendered and the reports on the projects will be shared soon.
A further study of interventions revealed that most of the Cyclone Emergence Aid was focused on the areas directly hit by the Cyclone (as in the critical path of the Cyclone) and that is Chimanimani and Chipinge were massive interventions by both local and international organisations are underway but there are gaps that need urgent intervention. As a body of Christ we looked at the surrounding areas where we discovered that there are thousands of people who four (4) months after the Cyclone Hit are without any assistance. These are the people that await the kind assistance of the Good Samaritans
CCAP Harare Synod with the assistance of Simukai Trust a Child Rights organisation based in Mutare and working in Chimanimani, Chipinge on child rights issues identified 5 wards in Mutare North who are in dire need of their first intervention since Cyclone Idai. They have been praying for assistance and we are grateful to GZB for considering to assist these and many others in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi by supporting the ecumenical families in those countries to render the kind assistance. In Zimbabwe we as CCAP Harare Synod would like to mitigate in these five wards from now till the next harvest season funds permitting. The calling in Matthew which resonated with the Citizens of Netherlands who rallied themselves to support Southern Africa is also spearheading us as Harare Synod to heed the call. Matthew 25:36-40 English Standard Version (ESV)
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
The country of Zimbabwe experienced the devastating floods, landslides and deadly rock falls, effects of Tropical Cyclone Idai on the 14th of March 2019. The most affected parts of Zimbabwe are largely Chipinge and Chimanimani Districts (both under Manicaland Province) and also parts of Mutare North and West.
Simukai Trust on the behest of CCAP Harare Synod has done assessments in 5 wards of Mutare North and the information provided below is authentic though the figures might not be the exact reflection of what is obtaining on the ground due to various constrains such as the limitations to access the exact number of the affected households as many details are still coming in.
Children in affected houses are not going to school, they are not sleeping well and scholastic material was destroyed by the cyclone. Food shortage - Mealie meal got wet and storage rooms were destroyed too, there is need of non-perishable and long shelf life food items. Some of the clothes were torn apart by rubbing objects. Lack of proper parental care as parents are focusing on securing their crops to try and salvage something from them that’s mainly tobacco and maize. Animals drowned. Nutritional gardens swept away. Water bodies were affected, wells are over following and effluents are going into unprotected wells rendering the water unsafe to drink.
Food sources of communities deeply affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai have been ruined and devastated. Stored food supplies within homesteads were either soaked or washed away or buried under falling rubble. The crops in the field e.g. maize, beans, water melons, pumpkins that the tropical-affected populations could fall back on have been waterlogged and eroded completely. Around 83 families were affected and lost the above.
Provision of food hampers will be the ideal for most desperate families. This will meet their immediate food insecurity. However in the long run, there is need to provide these families with farming seeds and fertilizers for them to grow their own food.
Water sources were affected as the rivers and wells might have contaminated water which is not safe for human consumption. These areas are at risk of water-borne disease outbreak like diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid arising from open defecation due to the destruction of sanitation facilities like toilets, lavatories and pit latrines in Mutare North. Dirty might fall into unprotected drinking water sources, like rivers, shallow and deep wells, weirs, boreholes to name a few, left even more exposed by the erosion of Tropical Cyclone Idai. 50 toilets were destroyed in the 5 wards.
Girls’ access to sanitation is also another challenge which has been fueled by cyclone Idai. The price of sanitary pads, towels, pants and bras has gone up beyond reach and the coming of Cyclone Idai washed away the little source of income the family had, making girls and women dignity kits not a priority. The issues of their sanitary needs are not considered as a priority in our patriarchal society. Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. Some patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage. Wikipedia. More than 300 girls are in need of a complete set of dignity kit which cost USD7.00 per kit.
The current situation calls for urgent water disinfectants or water treatment chemicals for there to be clean water for drinking and domestic use. There is need to provide buckets for storage and intense education on disease prevention and practicing good hygiene. Toilets need to be reclaimed as a measure to prevent spread of diseases. Provision of sanitary wear to the girl child helps in mitigating their access to sanitary wear.
Most of the affected population lost their productive assets e.g. livestock, tobacco barns, crops in the field, etc. Livestock forms the greater part of income generation and savings in most rural areas. Their major economic activity evolves around farming with tobacco being the major crop they grow for livelihood. The special leaf was washed away and the harvested one was soaked and destroyed by the rubbles of the falling tobacco barns.
As most families indicated in the table below lost their economic livelihood, resuscitating their family income through provision of income generating grants following entrepreneurship training will be ideal. Families will be capacitated on basic entrepreneurship and provided small grants to venture into income generation.
More than 150 households were affected in one way or the other that’s roughly 600 people. Those who survived the tragedy are inhabiting in unsafe houses or other makeshift structures taken up as “temporary accommodation) made of dagga and poles which will certainly pose a danger to human life. Most structures that survived the trail of destruction of Tropical Cyclone Idai sustained severe structural defects e.g. cracks and fault-lines. These houses with compromised structural strength, risk falling on their occupants whilst they sleep during the night. Some families took residence in disused, old, neglected and dilapidated buildings and some even in granaries and storerooms. Such desperate actions further expose these families to secondary danger of grave injury or even death.
There is need for total construction for houses that were completely destroyed. For those which are partially destroyed there is need to renovate e.g. roof, paltering, flooring depending on the extent of the damage.
School going children were also affected. Their scholastic materials were soaked and some washed away by the rains. Close to 300 students were affected.
Distribution of Scholastic material to the children mainly writing books, uniforms and pens will help the affected children to realize their right to education.
Possible forms of assistance should focus on preserving, promoting and enhancing the right to a quality and dignified life as the first port of call or line of first response. Offering medical assistance, safe and potable water supplies, blankets, food, clothes, shelter etc... Access to quality and inclusive education is another form of aid needed to the communities in distress as they recover from the effects of Tropical Cyclone Idai. Food supply, mainly non-perishable and long shelf life foods. Clean water supply, giving families aqua tablets and also awareness campaigns on securing water and water purification methods. Capacitating parenting skills in a crisis situation is also an ideal intervention. Provision of temporal shelter e.g. tents and provision of cement for the construction of toilets and houses during the long run.