By MELISA CHATIKOBO
THE European Union (EU) has allocated US$1.5 million to strengthen disaster preparedness structures and systems in Zimbabwe.
In a statement yesterday, the EU said the money will help fortify Zimbabwe’s Civil Protection Unit structures to improve efficiency and effectiveness of disaster preparedness and response.
“The EU is providing an additional US$1.5 million to Care International Zimbabwe to strengthen disaster preparedness structures and systems in Manicaland, Mashonaland Central and Matabeleland provinces.
“The funding is being made available through the EU’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and will be implemented in collaboration with the government and Caritas Zimbabwe.
“This project will also focus on the roll-out and deployment of inclusive community-led early warning and early action plans and tools in selected districts, especially locations prone to rapid-onset natural disasters, such as flooding and cyclones.
“The plans will also harness indigenous knowledge systems, linking them to meteorological forecasting systems,” the statement read.
All this comes as the country has not been spared from natural disasters that have left many people homeless and food insecure.
Earlier this year, Zimbabwe was hit by Tropical Storm Ana which caused destruction and damage in at least six provinces, with Manicaland Province suffering the most.
At least 3 000 people were affected by heavy rains and flooding, which left schools, bridges and roads damaged.
The 2021/22 agricultural season was marked by prolonged dry spell which left farmers in a fix as harvest of crops was drastically reduced.
The second round crop and livestock assessment report for the 2021/22 season, said the rainfall distribution was poor in both space and time across the country.
“The false start of the season resulted in the failed crop establishment forcing most farmers to replant several times.
“The late onset caused late plantings which were later affected by the prolonged dry spell at the productive stage causing write offs especially in the central and southern parts of the country.
“The estimated maize production for the 2021/22 season stands at 1 557 914 metric tonnes which is a 43 percent decrease from the 2 717 171 metric tonnes produced in the 2020/21 season,” the report said. – Daily News