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Humanitarian aid slowly penetrates Zimbabwe’s inaccessible areas

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A week since Cyclone Idai made landfall in eastern Zimbabwe, authorities and aid groups are stepping up relief efforts on the ground as the hardest-hit areas are slowly becoming more accessible.

The government and humanitarian agencies have dispatched food supplies and emergency response units in the region to assist thousands of people struggling to survive following the destructive storm.

As relief aid and medical and sanitation kits arrived in Chimanimani, a remote mountainous town that was unreachable by road until recently, hundreds of displaced residents took up refuge in a primary school, while others moved to the churches on higher ground for safety.

Jennifer Mahembe, one of those sheltering in one of the classrooms at Ngangu Primary School, said that since last Friday’s storm, she had been unable to go back to her destroyed home.

“My house is full of mud, everything sank in there and some of my property was taken by the rain,” the 48-year-old told Al Jazeera.

“I can’t walk to my house, I want to go, but I can’t. I stood in the water for too long so my legs hurt,” she said.

“Everything was buried in the mud. Even the clothes I’m wearing are borrowed from other people and the blankets I use to sleep aren’t mine, I have nothing. We are not getting enough here, we have something but we need more,” added Mahembe, expressing hope the inflow of aid would greatly improve the limited food rations.

Along with Zimbabwe, Cyclone Idai has also affected Mozambique and Malawi, with the collective death toll extending into the hundreds. Numbers are expected to rise in all three southeastern African countries as flood waters recede and community efforts to recover bodies that may have been swept downstream intensify.

On Friday, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who visited the Chimanimani area on Wednesday, declared Saturday and Sunday as national days of mourning.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has meanwhile warned that there is “heightened potential for a communicable disease outbreak” such as cholera or malaria in Zimbabwe’s cyclone-affected region, particularly in the Chimanimani area where the water supply system and power lines have been seriously damaged.

The UN is in the process of establishing temporary reception centres equipped with emergency medical supplies as well as primary healthcare kits in various areas of displaced groups.

Rosa Mukamba, 72, said three of her relatives had been swept away by landslides, while she had been forced to seek refuge at a temporary centre at Skyline, a low-range mountain summit 20km from Chimanimani, because her belongings and medication were swept away by the muddy rains.

“My children were taken by the water; their homes aren’t there more. Me I don’t have anything so I’m here,” she said.

“We have no fields left any more; our home, our pots, my pills, everything was taken.”

Further away, at Chimanimani Rural District Hospital, volunteer doctor Lindo Sithole said water purification tablets and chronic medicines were in short supply.

“Currently, we don’t have drugs to treat people with chronic illnesses, but there are people with diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension whose medicine got lost when their houses got flooded,” he told Al Jazeera.

“We don’t have enough drugs to assist them.”
AL Jazeera

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NEWS

Fortune Chasi replaces Gumbo as Energy Minister

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Fortune Chasi

President Mnangagwa has appointed Transport and Infrastructure Development Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi as the new minister of Energy and Power Development while Minister Gumbo has been appointed Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in charge of Implementation and Monitoring.

The President also appointed Engineer Mackenzie Ncube as the new chairman of the National Oil Infrastructure Company board.

In a statement last night, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda said the appointments were with immediate effect.

“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-In-Chief of the Defence Forces, Cde ED Mnangagwa has made the following senior appointments and re-assignments:

“Hon Minister Joram MacDonald Gumbo has been appointed Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in charge of Implementation and Monitoring.

“Hon Fortune Chasi, current Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development has been appointed Minister of Energy and Power Development,” read the statement.

Engineer Ncube replaced Mr Jemias Madzingira who was retired.

President Mnangagwa appointed Minister Gumbo as Cabinet Minister and Cde Fortune Chasi as deputy minister last year after winning the 2018 harmonised elections.

Prior to his appointment last year, Minister Gumbo had served as Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister in the previous Cabinet.

Engineer Ncube is a former Member of Parliament. The Chronicle

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BUSINESS

Zimbabwe set to rebase economy after adopting a new currency

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Zimbabwe Economy

Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister announced the rebasing of the economy on Wednesday, following the adoption of a new currency earlier this year, and said growth would be slowed this year by a drought and a cyclone that hit eastern regions.

The Zimbabwe economy grew higher than expected in 2018, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told parliament.

The central bank scrapped the peg between its quasi-currency bond note and electronic dollars against the U.S dollar in February and merged them into a single transitional currency called the RTGS dollar.

Rebasing the Zimbabwe economy broadly means changing the reference points used to calculate the country’s gross domestic product.

The southern African nation rebased its economy last October boosting it by 40% to $25.8 billion and Ncube said the adoption of the RTGS$ required another rebasing exercise, which put the economy at RTGS$70.1 billion or $21 billion at the official exchange rate.

Ncube said the Zimbabwe economy had grown by 6.2 per cent in 2018 compared to an initial forecast of 3.1 per cent but he saw growth being throttled this year by “severe economic shocks”, including a drought that has wilted crops and a cyclone that hit western parts of Zimbabwe in March.

He said Zimbabwe had 876 000 tonnes of maize in strategic grain reserves, enough to feed the country for seven months.

Ncube said the national treasury’s austerity measures had meant a budget surplus of RTGS$443 million was recorded in the first quarter and added that the target of a budget deficit of 5% of GDP would be achieved this year. Reuters

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NEWS

Early camp for Zimbabwe Warriors

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Zimbabwe Warriors 2019

Zimbabwe Warriors will go in camp early as they prepare for their AFCON opening match against the hosts Egypt on June 21.

Sunday Chidzambwa is to split the 34-man squad if there are to reach the COSAFA finals.

Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare says the team will flight straight from Nigeria to Egypt after their friendly game on the 8th.

“We are going to COSAFA and we are taking 34 players, we are going to play two games and then the other 18 players will then go to Nigeria to play on the 8th.

“18 players will leave for Nigeria on the 5th and play on the 8th, the other five players will then follow to make up the 23 players for the AFCON tournament.,” he said.

Mpandare says that the final 23 will be selected on merit.

“Selection will be based on the performance during the COSAFA tournament and the coaches will then select the final 23 from there.

“To us the COSAFA tournament is more like training games for us, so we actually going to camp in Durban and then the two games that we will be playing, will be like training games to us.

“Which I think will add value. We have played with the so-called inferior teams and it helps us in a certain way. But the big game is coming on the 8th, we might even have another friendly which a team still yet to confirm,” he said.

Zimbabwe won last year’s COSAFA and Mpandare says it’s a platform for them to assess and prepare for AFCON.

“But at the end of the day, we need those games because even the last time in 2018 when we were preparing for the AFCON qualifiers, it helps us in a big way.

“We won the COSAFA tournament with the same players that then participated in the AFCON qualifiers. So I think in as much as most teams are sending weak teams it will give us the competitive edge that we think we need,” he said.

Goalkeepers
George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank United), Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka), Talbert Shumba (Chapungu)

Defenders
Dennis Dauda (Lusaka Dynamos), Lawrence Mhlanga (FC Platinum), Jimmy Dzingai (Power Dynamos), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Tendai Darikwa (Nottingham Forest)

Midfielders
Danny Phiri(Golden Arrows), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Orlando Pirates), Tafadzwa Rusike (Zanaco), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Talent Chawapihwa (Amazulu), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah), Knowledge Musona (RSC Anderlecht), Thabani Kamusoko (Young Africans SC), Rodwell Chinyengetere (Baroka FC)

Strikers
Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang), Evans Rusike (Supersport United), Walter Musona (Polokwane City), Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre), Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows), Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City)H-Metro

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