HARARE, July 24 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s Civil Protection Department, tasked with responding to natural disasters, says it struggles to react to nature’s travails because of poor funding from the government and has so far received only $120,000 for the year.
The southern African nation is disaster prone and suffered from floods in the 2016/7 season which caused extensive damage to roads and other social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, displacing thousands of people. Government made an international appeal for $200 million.
The country is also recovering from a severe drought a year ago which left four million people reliant on food aid.
“We struggle to respond to disasters because traditionally we have been getting an estimated $200,000 in the budget (annually) and sometimes not even getting all of it. For this year we have so far received $120,000,” the department’s deputy director Sibusisiwe Ndlovu told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry.
She said donors are funding most of the country’s disaster preparedness and management programmes.
“The only resources we have in our coffers are those resources given to us by the Chinese, Indians and Algerians. Treasury is yet to release part of its commitment to our day to day operations as a department,” said Ndlovu.
“So with those limited resources, there has been serious constraints on what we do even in terms of preparedness planning, in terms of simulating those plans and in terms of reaching out to all those communities that are at risk.”
In contrast, Zimbabwe spent $44,9 million in foreign travel in the 11 months to November last year, more than twice the budget. President Robert Mugabe blew $36 million of that in the first 10 months of the year on at least 20 trips abroad, according to Ministry of Finance figures.
Ndlovu said the Ministry of Finance has since revised this year’s budget for the department to $2,7 million but there is no indication when that money will be released.
The department, created under an act of Parliament in 1989, has a staff complement of seven according to its website.