Zimbabwe experiences multiple natural hazards, including cyclones, droughts, floods, and heavy rains. Droughts affect rural and urban food security and water supplies on an annual basis, with increased reliance on food distributions during lean seasons. Recurring floods during the rainy season damage roads and infrastructures, particularly in remote districts.
There is a shortage of appropriate warehouse space available in Zimbabwe. The World Food Programme (WFP)has procured 25 Mobile Storage Units (MSU) which it loans out to support Government and humanitarian partners for emergency warehousing in affected areas. MSUs played a crucial role for the Cyclone Idai response in 2019, and 2019-20 Lean Season Assistance. The needs for the 2020-21 lean season are predicted to be even bigger.
WFP and humanitarian partners currently rely on the use of a commercial service provider to assemble and dismantle MSUs, as they do not have the capacity to do it themselves. This is a significant capacity gap that is both costly ($450 each to assemble, and $200 each to dismantle) and a risk, as evident with the COVID-19 movement restrictions. If the service provider is not able to access the affected area due to movement restrictions, floods, or road washouts; vital emergency storage cannot be provided.
On the La Niña year, higher than normal rainfalls are predicted and the needs for temporary storage during the lean season are expected to be higher than last year. Thus, there is an urgent need for humanitarians to be able to assemble and dismantle MSUs in the areas of operation. COVID-19 risk mitigation measures needed to be implemented and number of participants for training kept low. Therefore, it was recommended that a Training of Trainers(ToT),targeted at key WFP and humanitarian partners who hold MSUs, be conducted. Once trained, WFPstaff can then continue to assist to build the local capacity of other partners and government on MSU assembly, as part of their logistics emergency response coordination mandate