Zimbabwe has experienced the most devastating natural disaster in the country’s recorded history. Cyclone Idai hit the eastern part of Zimbabwe on 15th March 2019. Strong winds and heavy rain totaling 200mm to 600mm (equivalent to 1–2 seasons) caused flash flooding across parts of the provinces of Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo, which are home to 44 % of the country’s population. At least 344 people have been recorded dead and at least 257 people are still missing, and about 60,000 people have been displaced by the Cyclone.
Cyclone Idai has had a devastating impact on an already fragile region. It is the latest natural disaster in a succession of economic and climatic shocks. The El Nino induced drought linked to climate variability and change, had already put the affected areas at high risk of food insecurity, further escalating the surge in the number of poor and vulnerable households recorded over the past 6 months. The likely ripple effects on the entire region are also significant, as the affected regions produced 1/3 of total agricultural output in Zimbabwe. The impacts of these crises are further compounded by broader national challenges associated with limited fiscal space, liquidity challenges, high public debt, and a difficult “political” environment which will make the Cyclone recovery more difficult to mobilize support for.
Given the need for concerted action and in response to the Presidents’ of the Republic of Zimbabwe declared ’State of Disaster’ in the affected areas, Government of Zimbabwe sought the support of the World Bank in conducting a Rapid Impact and Needs Assessment (RINA) The report has benefitted throughout the process from the constructive and informative engagement of the Government, WB and Partners. Of importance was the cross- government engagement both in the RINA preparation and validation of the report. Their input has been crucial, for the subsequent recovery and resilient framework which will be delivered by government and various stakeholders. The results of the RINA will feed into an RRF that will define a multi-sectoral approach to identifying key development policies and investment priorities to mitigate the impacts of climatic shocks, tied to an associated financing framework, situated within Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC). The RINA is an important building block for the future vision of Zimbabwe. We appreciate the support of our partners in undertaking this exercise within a tight timeframe, allowing for the timely initiation of much-needed recovery and resilience-building action, and we look forward to working with them on this strategic initiative.