Natural Hazard Risk
Zimbabwe experiences multiple natural hazards, including cyclones, drought, floods, and heavy rains. Droughts affect rural and urban food security, water supplies, and livelihoods. Recurring floods damage property, infrastructure, and disrupt lives. A regional drought in 2016, made worse by El Niño, affected over four million in Zimbabwe, and was followed by flooding in 2017.
Climate change is projected to continue affecting the country. According to World Bank research, by 2050, Zimbabwe will experience a significant reduction is rainfall, river flows, and groundwater drainage, with the highest impacts on southern Zimbabwe. This will have significant economic implications, as about 80 percent of Zimbabweans depend on rain-fed agriculture, and the sector employs most of the population.
The government has taken steps to strengthen disaster risk management (DRM). The National Climate Change Response Strategy was adopted in 2014. It provides a comprehensive and strategic framework that helps inform the strengthening of climate and disaster risk management policies.
Although the national budget does not allocate direct support to DRM, the Department of Civil Protection’s budget covers preparedness and response. In addition, budget lines in specific ministry budget allocations, such as in the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health, support DRM.
To advance its DRM agenda, Zimbabwe is prioritizing:
- Mainstreaming climate resilience, with a focus on drought; and,
- Institutional strengthening and capacity building.
GFDRR has helped enable DRM efforts in Zimbabwe since 2010, with a focus on exploring regional financial resilience strategies and on integrating disaster and climate resilience at the local level.
Early activities explored the feasibility of establishing new ways to fund drought-related emergency relief in Africa, including for Zimbabwe. With GFDRR support, a feasibility study was conducted to investigate the financial, legal, and institutional issues associated with establishing an African Drought Risk Pool. The project also aimed to create a platform for collaboration among the World Bank, World Food Programme, African Development Bank, African Union, and national governments to explore new financing mechanisms that can help governments access contingent funding for drought-related disasters. Activities drew on programs the World Bank had developed in weather risk management in Ethiopia and Malawi, and on successful experiences in catastrophe risk financing initiatives, such as Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) and the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Pool initiative (PCRAFI), which have GFDRR support. It also built on technical work completed by the World Food Programme, which has developed a model that assesses the financial impact of drought-related losses.
Since 2012 GFDRR, thru the African, Caribbean, and Pacific–European Union Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program, has supported activities that help integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation measures within the local development planning process of villages, wards, and districts in the Kariba District of the Zambezi River Basin. Activities target the three highest at-risk villages in the three high-risk rural wards, reaching about 4,000 direct beneficiaries and 20,000 indirect beneficiaries. Implemented by the Danish and Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, the project is guided at the national level by a steering committee comprised of key departments within the Ministry of Local Government Rural and Urban Development, at the local level in cooperation with the Nyaminyami Rural Development Council, and in coordination with the district administrator.
GFDRR anticipates continued demand from the Government of Zimbabwe on:
- Strengthening institutional capacity at the national and local level for disaster and climate resilience; and,
- Strengthening financial resilience and disaster and climate shocks.