The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

One year on: Cyclone Idai recovery efforts continue in Zimbabwe

In March 2019, Cyclone Idai destroyed approximately 50,000 households and displaced over 60,000 people in the country, causing as much as $622 million worth of damage. With the World Bank and partners, UNOPS is managing key recovery efforts.

“We aim not simply to restore what was lost but to build back better, smarter and stronger so that communities are more resilient to future hazards,” said Rainer Frauenfeld, Director of UNOPS in Kenya, which also provides oversight for UNOPS work in Zimbabwe.

The World Bank has provided $72 million for the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP), focused on restoring livelihoods and communities, targeting more than 270,000 people affected by Cyclone Idai.

Managed by UNOPS, the multi-faceted project is being implemented by several United Nations partners including the Food and Agriculture Organization, UNICEF, UNOPS, World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.

Work ranges from the rehabilitation of community sites, comprehensive agricultural inputs and the restoration of livestock production, to outreach activities aimed at building awareness around diseases like malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition. Village health workers are receiving intensive training in essential health information, basic maternal, newborn and child health services. The capacity of hospitals is also being strengthened in areas of data management, disease surveillance and reporting, while village health workers and medical personnel are being recruited to form mobile medical teams.

There is still a lot to be done through the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project. The community that the project has reached has demonstrated incredible resilience in the face of loss and come together to work towards the recovery effort.”

Mukami Kariuki - World Bank Country Manager for Zimbabwe

“We are grateful to the different agencies and authorities with whom we work to implement this multi-sectoral project. Together we have developed a unified response to help communities build back better and restore livelihoods,” he added.

UNOPS with its partners continue efforts that are less visible but vital to the sustainability of the projects. These include detailed assessments, pre-qualification of contractors for longer-term community infrastructure including roads, bridges and culverts which will be built back better than what existed before Cyclone Idai struck.

In addition to ZIRP, UNOPS is also an implementing partner in the Post Cyclone Idai Emergency Recovery and Resilience Programme, funded by the Africa Development Bank. The $25 million project will rebuild key public infrastructure and help to restore essential services – including transport, electricity, water and sanitation – to foster local economic development and promote sustainable livelihoods in communities most severely affected by the Cyclone Idai.


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