HARARE – In March, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, were hit by Cyclone Idai, one of the worst storms ever to affect the neighboring countries.
The storm caused huge losses of human life and left the countries with an astronomical reconstruction bill. The death toll in all the three countries is now above 1 000, with damages estimated at US$2 billion.
While the disaster brought by Cyclone Idai was unprecedented on many levels, Mozambique faces natural disaster induced infrastructure losses on an annual basis.
But the scale of the latest storms could be beyond its own capacity when it comes to reconstruction.
This could require combined effort of construction industries across the South African Development Community to move in the three countries in order to help them rehabilitate infrastructure.
According to the World Bank disasters in Mozambique lead to an annual loss of an estimated US$100 million – about one percent of the country’s GDP.
The reconstruction challenge will be huge.
The economies of the three economies are all struggling so the restoration will not be easy but there have been concerted efforts to raise funds for the rebuilding initiative. Construction activity is going to be high in the affected areas.
Zimbabwe has set aside US$50 million for reconstruction in the regions affected by Cyclone Idai in Manicaland and parts of Masvingo and Mashonaland East.
The country’s Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, announced that the funds would be directed towards capacitating the Civil Protection Unit as well as repairing roads, schools, power and water infrastructure.
“The Ministry of Finance has released US$50 million for emergency and infrastructure restoration following Cyclone Idai-induced flood destruction and infrastructural damage. The funds will go towards Cyclone Idai rescue efforts and rehabilitation of affected citizens and restoration of rural feeder roads and other structures,” said Ncube.
He explained that the money would be allocated to the Civil Protection Unit, the department of roads, education, health, electricity and water and sanitation.
The International Monetary Fund executive board has approved US$118,2 million Rapid Credit Facility Assistance to Mozambique for the reconstruction and has also indicated that it will expedited its engagement with Zimbabwe which will likely see funds released to the country in the future.