BY SILAS NKALA
INTERNATIONAL Organisation of Migration Zimbabwe (IOM) chief of mission, Mario Lito Malanca, has said Harare faces political problems and adverse weather patterns that are causing social and economic instability.
Resultantly, this has created a precarious situation on livelihoods with millions of people forced into migration in search of better opportunities.
“Zimbabwe faces political challenges resulting in social and economic instability, creating a combination of factors that have destroyed people’s livelihoods. Zimbabwe is also extremely vulnerable to a wide range of natural and man-made disasters,” he said, in a statement.
“In the past years, floods, tropical storms, cyclones, and long periods of droughts have deteriorated the resilience capacity of its population, impacting the most vulnerable rural regions of the country and exacerbating acute needs, resulting in severe food insecurity.
“IOM seeks to ensure humanitarian protection and assistance needs are met through the provision of timely, multi-sector interventions, while simultaneously addressing the root causes of vulnerability related to natural hazards and food insecurity, thereby building resilience to future risks in Zimbabwe.”
Malanca said IOM will focus on addressing rights-based service delivery and building capacity of local authorities and other key stakeholders.
“To achieve this, IOM is appealing for US$38,9 million targeting 1,719,758 people. Of this, around US$10 million will be geared towards addressing the socio-economic impact of Covid-19. IOM scales up plans to address the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 on the over 200 000 returning migrants,” he said.
“Since the onset of the Covid-19 in March 2020, approximately 200 000 migrants have returned to Zimbabwe. These migrants have returned to the very communities which led them to look for a better life elsewhere and have no livelihood opportunities to sustain their return and overall socio-economic stability.”
Malanca said IOM Zimbabwe was scaling-up plans to address the needs of returning migrants following Covid-19 mitigation measures.
He said about US$10 million was required under its Global Strategic Preparedness and Response plan in Zimbabwe.
To date, IOM and partners have assisted the government through multi-sectoral initiatives focusing on strengthening public health measures at points of entry (PoEs) and along major mobility pathways. Along with the need to strengthen Covid-19 preparedness and response capacities well into 2021, it is critical to cater to the socio-economic needs of the returnees to ensure they do not fall deeper into crisis or rely on negative coping mechanisms,” Malanca said.
IOM Zimbabwe, he said, was encouraging income-generating projects to empower returning migrants.
“The appropriate interventions have been identified through a community-based planning (CBP) approach to support post-crisis recovery and durable solutions. Mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS) are a necessary part of this response as affected populations suffer the many negative impacts of the pandemic which include job losses, financial hardship, interrupted education, the loss of loved ones, stigma and isolation,” he said.