Latest Rains Expose Urgent Need for Climate Change Resilient Community Infrastructure

Zimbabwe has just begun experiencing the 2021/22 rainy season allaying fears of a drought season which was becoming a great concern especially for rural peasant communities. However, the rains have come in the form of windy storms accompanied with heavy lighting, further exposing the communities to new forms of risk and disasters.

In Nkayi District of Matabeleland South Province, for example, in one day, the lightning struck in 2 homes, some schools have had their roofs blown off and roads are becoming impassable. In Hype Park (peri-urban Bulawayo) 2 cows were struck by lightning on the same day. These are all worrying economic and social losses especially to poor and vulnerable communities. In the 2020/21 rainfall season, a lot of public infrastructure, especially schools was damaged/destroyed by strong stormyNat winds. In Gwanda ward 1 about 76 homes and 4 schools had infrastructure destroyed in November 2020 when a heavy storm hit the community.

The Zimbabwe National Climate Change Response Strategy recognizes the imperative to design climate proofed settlements and proposes measures that include Review and update policy and by-laws on building standards and codes to make them adaptive to climate change; Invest in climate resilient social infrastructure; and Enhance community resilience to climate change.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 9 and 11 recognize the importance of strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries; and building resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

MIHR is working in capacitating School Development Committees (SDCs) in strengthening their development planning, oversight and accountability role in ensuring that schools infrastructure is climate change resilient.

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