HARARE – Goverment must invest in early warning systems to reduce the cost of responding to disasters, Oxfam programme manager Joel Musarurwa has said.
He told delegates at the launch of a €2,6 million Zimbabwe Joint Humanitarian Programme second phase (ZimJR2) that the system will ensure that when disasters happen, vulnerable communities are better prepared.
Aid agencies in ZimJR 2 include Plan, Terres des Hommes, World Vision and Act Alliance.
The response comes after Zimbabwe faced an El Nino-induced drought in the 2015/2016 season and floods during the 2016/2017 agricultural season — which prompted government to declare a state of national disaster, appealing for $188 million for flood assistance.
ZimJR targets Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Midlands provinces to provide humanitarian assistance to 113 485 people until August.
The programme will provide cash transfers, school feeding in over 100 schools and cash for work initiatives.
“We encourage government to ensure that reliable early warning systems are put in place for known disasters like floods, drought and epidemics as responding to disasters costs way more than investing in disaster preparedness.
“From a research that was done in Kenya for the Horn of Africa drought, it showed that being prepared costs less than responding,” Musarurwa said.
He said the programme aims at providing adaptation mechanisms of affected communities, adding communities need to make good use of appropriate and relevant technologies such as water harvesting in their resilience building programmes.
The Oxfam programme manager said communities should also strongly consider adopting small grains not only for consumption but sale in areas where there are markets.
Zimbabwe coordinator for Act Alliance, Sostina Takure, said agencies need to be on top of situations which deal with climate change and initiatives.