New Funding Boosts Post-cyclone Emergency Responses

Post-cyclone emergency response operations in Zimbabwe were last week boosted by $200,000 in contributions from the Government of Japan and the International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) own internal funding mechanisms.

The assistance is going towards Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI), Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Health, Protection, Displacement Tracking, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) and Early Recovery. IOM will take the lead in the Shelter and NFI/CCCM cluster.

Before now, IOM was asking international humanitarian donors for $3.15 million to help the people of Malawi impacted by Cyclone Idai last month. The appeal is to assist IOM teams in Malawi to reach an estimated 110,110 targeted individuals through the end of September 2019.

In early March, a severe weather system formed off the eastern coast of Mozambique and struck Malawi with heavy rain and strong winds. The system further intensified into Cyclone Idai and made landfall in Malawi on March 14-15, which led to severe flooding across Malawi’s southern districts.

According to the Government of Malawi’s figures, more than 868,900 people have been affected, including more than 86,980 displaced, with 60 deaths and 672 injuries recorded. In total, fifteen districts in southern Malawi have been impacted.

IOM is appealing for $1.65 million for Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI), $750,000 for Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and $750,000 for teams from IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM).

“IOM is appealing for funding support that it aims to use in providing shelter support for the most vulnerable affected populations using the build back better (BBB) model as a resilience strategy that will afford future use of the same structures by affected populations in the event of another disaster,” Said Mpilo Nkomo, IOM Malawi’s Head of Office.

“Additionally, camp coordination & camp management and DTM activities are being rolled out to build the capacity of office bearers on managing camps, support the establishment of district camp management committees and strengthen the Department of Disaster Management Affairs information management system through application of the DTM.”

Site assessments conducted by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams in the four districts with the highest displacements—Zomba, Nsanje, Chikwawa, and Phalombe— from March 25  to April 6, 2019, recorded that 110,110 individuals (24,887 households) have been displaced throughout 103 sites. Almost all displacement sites are collective centers, where populations fled to existing structures such as churches or schools and are sheltering in and around these buildings.

However, living conditions are quickly deteriorating, due to overcrowding and the lack of access to basic services.

With agriculture being the main source of livelihood for the rural population in Malawi, the heavy rains and floods have impacted agricultural activities. As fields are inundated, recently planted crops have been destroyed. Some districts are already reporting food insecurity. According to DTM assessments, the primary need for displaced people is food, followed by shelter.

IOM recognises that camps are the last resort, and notes that even now populations report the desire to return home. Only the lack of shelter remains their primary barrier.

IOM is a member of the Shelter/ NFI / CCCM cluster, led by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Malawi Red Cross. IOM has been the main partner in CCCM activities since the 2015 floods and has worked closely with the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) to provide capacity building at national and regional level.

To ensure a more robust and targeted response by the humanitarian community, IOM will implement its DTM program to provide key information and critical insights into the situation on internally displaced and affected persons in Malawi. Specifically, DTM will provide humanitarian stakeholders with a mapping of displacement sites, demographics of the most affected, mobility tracking as populations move to and from sites towards return and relocation, as well as detailed inter-sectorial information on all assessed sites to support strategic decision making around resource allocation. The DTM products will include maps, dashboards, narrative reports and raw data which will be shared with humanitarian partners on a regular basis.

Similar data is currently being collected for Mozambique and Zimbabwe, ensuring a regional perspective is integrated in the data analysis, including assessment of cross border needs and linkages in the movements of persons affected by the crisis.

The flooding caused by Cyclone Idai has so far left 268 people dead. Some 270,000 were affected with an estimated 21,000 displaced in the country’s eastern Chipinge and Chimanimani districts. The affected persons who are now residing in collective centres such as schools, hotel conference rooms and vacant shops are in urgent need of assistance.

Following the aftermath of the cyclone, IOM this month brought a high-level delegation to the hardest hit areas of Zimbabwe. The delegation – IOM Regional Director Southern Africa Charles Kwenin, IOM Zimbabwe Chief of Mission Mario Lito Malanca, and IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies Mohammed Abdiker – met with government officials and affected people in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts to establish the needs and challenges faced by the communities affected by Cyclone Idai.

In a visit to Kopa and Ngangu, two communities of Chimanimani where the most displacements took place, the IOM delegation noted that Kopa, a once flourishing growth point with more than 77 households, was reduced to rubble with surviving residents seeking shelter in surrounding households. To date 305 people remain missing.

Upon seeing the level of destruction caused by the cyclone, the Director of Operations and Emergencies authorised USD 100,000 from IOM’s internal emergency mechanism to Zimbabwe to cater for shelter and NFIs.

“At IOM, we are looking at best ways to assist the affected communities especially in terms of shelter, psychosocial support and non-food items. We are here to support the people of Zimbabwe in the best way that we can,” said Abdiker.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan also responded to the IOM appeal and supported the mission with USD 100,000 to alleviate the situation of Cyclone Idai affected communities. The Japanese funding will support IOM’s work in Shelter/NFI and activities.

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