BOAF – Lessons and experiences of the past: Cyclone Idai

Mar - 20

BOAF – Lessons and experiences of the past: Cyclone Idai

Mozambique and Zimbabwe have experienced serious floods over the past two decades. In 2000, in Zimbabwe, Cyclone Eline devastated parts of the country, claiming 136 lives and destroying tens of thousands of houses. Each time, the disasters have left deaths and significant damage to infrastructure in their wake. However, the government’s response has not improved after each crisis, as one would expect.

The Zimbabwe Met Department issued out warnings, days ahead of Cyclone Idai making landfall in Beira, there was not much else done. Zimbabwe was already poorly prepared by then.

“In constructing the post cyclone Idai, it is therefore necessary to find an answer to the question of whether the interests of individual shall have central importance in nation- building,” said Mr. Stanley Karombo an executive member of the 1873 Network  www.the1873network.organd radio

With global warming, floods and other extreme weather will worsen over the coming years. There is nothing that Zimbabwe can do about the weather, but there is a lot the country can do to prepare better for disasters, to respond more efficiently, and to build resilience. It starts with spending more on protecting people, than on luxury and patronage

In Zimbabwe, Cyclone Idai, which had left at least 98 people dead and more than 100 missing in its wake by Sunday, has once again raised questions on the country’s disaster response.

In central Mozambique, the tropical cyclone Idai battered on Friday killing at least 19 people and cutting off more than half a million in Beira, one of the country’s largest cities.

Local officials in Mozambique said that heavy rains earlier in the week, before the cyclone struck, had already claimed another 66 lives, injured scores and displaced 17,000 people.

Heavy rains in neighbouring Malawi this week have affected almost a million people and claimed 56 lives, according to the latest government toll.

After the cyclone Idai, we’re compelled to look back at the journey travelled with a view of interrogating the question of whether African governments have the capacity to deal with such catastrophes in future?

Is the government far removed from the people it governs?

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