HARARE - Plan International is gearing up to respond as Cyclone Dineo threatens to cause widespread damage across Zimbabwe.
The cyclone made landfall on today. Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department has issued a high alert for heavy rainfall across the country until Monday.
The storm has already left a trail of destruction in its path as it hit the northern coast of neighboring Mozambique. In Zimbabwe, the areas likely to be affected are Masvingo, Matabeleland South, and southern Manicaland. Plan international has operations in these low lying provinces, which are very prone to flooding. Heavy and intense rainfall, accompanied by strong winds, is expected. “We are monitoring the movement of the cyclone and are coordinating with government agencies, in-country humanitarian organisations, and local partners who are operational in areas likely to be affected by the cyclone,” says Plan International Zimbabwe Country Director Lennart Reinius.
The torrential rains could reach up to 3.5 inches in 24 hours. Children are at high risk as they have to cross flooded rivers, roads, and streams to access schools. With the torrential rain, accessibility to the affected areas could be compromised as roads become water logged and slippery and the bridges submerged.
Plan International has teams on standby to respond to the affected communities. “We have urged our partner communities, including sponsored families and children, to take necessary measures to secure their safety,” Reinius says.
Plan International has been working in Zimbabwe since 1986 and has played important roles in responding to previous disasters, including the prevailing El Nino crisis which was declared a national disaster in February 2016. Through food assistance, cash transfers, school feeding, and recovery interventions, Plan International’s response has reached 553,901 people.
“Crops and livestock are likely to be affected, which could compromise the already vulnerable communities who are trying to recover from the current food insecurity caused by El Nino,” Reinius explains.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Plan International staff in Zimbabwe are available for interviews.
About Plan International USA
Plan International USA, part of the Plan International Federation, is a child-centered development organization that believes in the promise and potential of children. For more than 75 years in over 50 developing countries, Plan has been breaking the cycle of child poverty. Everything Plan does – from strengthening health care systems to improving the quality of education, to advocating for increased protection and beyond – is built with, and owned by, the community. The result is a development approach designed to improve the lives of the youngest members of the community for the longest period of time. For more information, please visit PlanUSA.org.