Cyclone Idai, which affected Zimbabwe in March 2019, particularly impacting Manicaland and Masvingo provinces caused tremendous damage to infrastructure, household shelters and community livelihoods. Despite support from government and partners to the communities so far, there are still glaring residual needs in the affected communities which is hindering of the achievement of durable solutions.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further exacerbated the need for humanitarian assistance to most of the population as the pandemic adds another significant shock to the economy, increasing poverty and inequalities. This pandemic poses a profound risk for communities in fragile contexts, particularly for internally displaced persons (IDPs), host communities, and migrant returnees from neighboring countries who were forced to come back home due to the impact of the pandemic.
Since the COVID-19 imposed movement restriction measures worldwide, more than 485,000 Zimbabwean migrants have returned to Zimbabwe (IOM POE Weekly Update 72), the majority from mostly South Africa, fearing personal safety and economic hardships, expecting to obtain a job opportunity and reintegrate in their communities. The pandemic increased the pressure in communities already highly affected by recurring shocks (flooding, droughts, food insecurity) in Matabeleland South province.
Addressing the vulnerabilities of returnees and displaced population is critical, and IOM with funding from the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) is providing multisectoral assistance through Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) and income generating activities to promote reintegration and build resilience of IDPs, returnees and vulnerable host communities in Masvingo Province.
From 9 November to 1 December 2021, IOM conducted inception meetings at Provincial and District level and livelihood baseline assessments to identify the most vulnerable Districts, the needs and to estimate the number of people in need in Bikita, Chivi and Chiredzi districts of Masvingo Province.