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Cyclone Idai wreaks havoc in Zimbabwe; the IRC launches immediate emergency response

by IRC
21 Mar 2019 at 19:03hrs | Views
As the effects of Cyclone Idai continue to wreak havoc in Eastern Zimbabwe, the International Rescue Committee is responding in the hardest hit areas to address the massive need caused by the worst natural disaster so far of 2019.

Cyclone Idai, which hit Zimbabwe on the evening of March 15, has caused massive flooding and landslides, forcing many Zimbabweans to flee their homes and seek higher ground to survive.

Some areas have been cut off due to roads and bridges being swept away, and many who need help are unreachable by rescue and evacuation teams. Most of Chimanimani district is only accessible by helicopter, but poor weather conditions have hindered access since the start of the week.

The IRC has deployed medical staff and supplies to Skyline in Chimanimani, where a mobile clinic has been set up to support those displaced by the disaster. The IRC is also supporting those displaced with food and kits for women.

Paolo Cernuschi, Zimbabwe Country Director at the International Rescue Committee, said, "Our teams have been on the ground since Monday supporting the response in Chipinge, and are on standby with emergency supplies to immediately deliver assistance to the most affected district Chimanimani as soon as access is restored.

"While immediate life saving support is the most pressing need, the impact of this cyclone will continue to be severe in the coming weeks and months. We are expecting the situation to worsen and to see a surge in malaria and other water borne diseases.

"Further, this disaster compounds an already dire situation as the hardest hit areas were facing severe food insecurity and economic hardships prior to the cyclone. Whatever crops that were being grown despite the drought have now been destroyed in the floods, and these districts will need the help of the international community now more than ever.

"The impact of this disaster can not be underestimated and will require our attention for many months to come. While we are doing what we can to reach those in need, we need a major injection of emergency funding to be able to scale up our response."

The IRC began working in Zimbabwe in 2008 to respond to the devastating cholera outbreak and has since significantly scaled up our programming to work with local communities to improve sanitation, access to clean water, safe delivery for pregnant women, and livelihood opportunities and improved agriculture for farmers.

Source - IRC