Zimbabwe: Cyclone Idai: A time to reassess disaster management
By Sally Nyakanyanga
Claris Madhuku, director for Youth Development Trust, a community-based nonprofit organisation based in Zimbabwe’s Chipinge and Chimanimani areas (the areas most affected by the cyclone), tells IPS that information provided by Zimbabwe’s meteorological department ahead of Cyclone Idai making landfall had been insufficient to prepare people of the danger.
In addition, many people did not have the capacity to cope with the cyclone and there were no safe alternative places for communities to flee to in the event of an evacuation.
The country’s Civil Protection Unit, which is part of Zimbabwe’s Local Government Ministry, had told people to move to higher ground. It was a case of being between a rock and a hard place, as even those who sought refuge at high-lying areas were affected by mudslides.
[Dr. Leonard Unganai, a climate change expert,] advised that there should be more awareness and education around climate change. In the case of Cyclone Idai there was lack of preparedness and people underestimated the gravity or amount of rain that would fall.