Assistance to communities hit by Cyclone Idai

Chistian Aid partnered with Africa AHEAD with the objective of alleviating human suffering in the wake of the disaster inflicted by Cyclone Idai in March 2019, which tore through Chipinge district leaving trail of destruction on the roads and bridges making it difficult to access goods and services. Efforts by the District Civil Protection Unit [DCPU] and partners have seen some  reconstruction of the damaged roads and bridges and the restoration of access to goods and services. There has been a hive of assistance activities from different organizations and agencies in wards 2, 9, and 14, where communities lost relatives, food, homes, livestock, property, water and sanitation infrastructure and livelihoods.

The distribution of hygiene and WASH kits by Africa AHEAD commenced in September 2019 following the registration and verification of beneficiary registers, targeting the very vulnerable in each community, such as the elderly, the disabled, the chronically ill, pregnant and lactating mothers, child-headed families and single-headed families. A total of 894 households with a population of 5133 beneficiarie with 2439 men and 2694 women.

The distribution was delayed due to challenges experienced across the nation with suppliers  failing to cope with the huge demand resulting in delays in procurement and supply of the commodities due to shortages  within the market. This was worsened by the fuel shortages, power outages and price escalation with over 350% inflation rate and delays in disbursement of funds.

The hygiene kit comprised of the following commodities: lady’s pants, sanitary pads, bathing soap, laundry soap, petroleum jelly, toothpaste, toothbrush, bathing towel, and bathing bucket. The WASH kit was comprised of 3 commodities: a 20 litre jerry can, a bar of soap and water guard.

Health and hygiene awareness was conducted before the communities received the commodities. The awareness covered menstrual hygiene management [proper use of sanitary pads and their disposal], water storage and treatment [proper use of water guard] personal hygiene, and hand washing. Flyers with hand washing and latrine construction messages were also distributed. The distribution committees selected volunteers who assisted in the distribution of commodities. Government stakeholders were also represented by members of the District Civil Protection Unit. Communities were encouraged to make use of facilities such as mobile suggestion boxes and help desks which were set at every distribution center for feedback and or complaints.