Zimbabwe experiences multiple natural hazards, including cyclones, drought, 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. Climate change is projected to continue affecting the country. According to World Bank research, by 2050, Zimbabwe will experience a significant reduction in rainfall, river flows, and groundwater drainage, with the highest impacts on southern Zimbabwe.
Cyclone Idai crossed into Zimbabwe as a Tropical Storm on 16 March 2019 causing severe flooding and landslides. The storm caused significant damage mainly in Chimanimani and Chipinge districtsin the Manicaland province, rendering approximately 90% of the roads and bridges in the affected areas unusable. Food insecurity resulting from the combined effects of drought and the impact of Cyclone Idai and COVID-19 are now also highlighting challenges with supply chain, further compounded by the economic challenges. The Logistics Cluster was activated to fill the logistics gaps in the supply chain of relief items.
As the situation improved and the response transitioned from emergency to early recovery, the Logistics Cluster scaled down its operational activities and began working towards rolling out preparedness initiatives, designed to build on lessons learned and foster collaboration and communication within the humanitarian community in Zimbabwe. The transition to logistics preparedness was supported by the Department of Civil Protection, various United Nations (UN)agenciesand non-governmental organisations (INGO/NGO)actors, national societies and the private sector. The Department of Civil Protection under the government’s Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has the mandate to coordinate and lead emergencies preparedness and response.
The Logistics Preparedness Project aims to enable a coordinated approach towards improving local supply chain resilience in Zimbabwe. A key output has beenthe formation of a Zimbabwe National Logistics Sector(ZNLS)led by Department of Civil Protection, which brings stakeholders together before an emergency to identify potential solutions, draft and implementcommon actions, and establish a national operational team environment. The COVID-19 pandemic lead to the postponement of the foundation activity, the Logistics Preparedness Gaps and Needs workshop, scheduled for 3-4 April 2020. This activity was to be key in socialising the existence and benefit of the project to line ministries, local government, UN agencies, humanitarian partners, donors and private sector.ZNLS continued to meet virtually to progress the project activities until the restrictions were lifted late in September2020, however online engagement with Government was difficult. The workshop was finally conductedon 29and 30 October 2020 and modified to progress work already started by ZNLS and develop the Action Plan