Donated goods pile up at CPU

via Donated goods pile up at CPU | The Financial Gazette – Zimbabwe News 4 Jun 2015

GOODS donated to flood victims in January have not reached their intended beneficiaries nearly six months after disaster struck in flood-prone regions of the country, the Financial Gazette has learnt.
Zimbabwe’s co-operating partners such as the International Organisation for Migration, World Vision, Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies, church organisations and sympathetic individuals pooled the resources to assist victims of flooding that devastated some parts of the country during the past rainfall period.
It has since emerged that some of the goods are still held at the Civil Protection Unit (CPU)’s head office in Harare.
The issue has since drawn harsh response from disaster and risk management experts who said it exhibited government’s lack of sincerity in addressing issues affecting the poor and vulnerable communities.
Many people fear that the goods could easily be diverted for other purposes such as buying votes in future elections.
CPU director, Madzudzo Pawadyira, has refuted the claims saying the goods in their warehouse were not the same as those intended for the January flood victims.
Despite his denials, highly-placed sources insisted that the goods in their warehouses were those mobilised through a Cabinet committee on civil protection chaired by Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo to alleviate the plight of families that were affected by the floods.
They include an assortment of grocery items, blankets, clothes and kitchen utensils like pots, cups, plates, cement, tents as well as acqua tablets among other items whose value is estimated to run into several thousands of United States dollars.
CPU officials are also reportedly helping themselves to some of the donated items, with sources there claiming that two people have so far been caught stealing the goods.
The unit has previously been criticised for being ineffective in carrying out its mandate.
CPU is responsible for coordinating and promoting the country’s response to emergencies at the individual, community, sectoral, local authority and national levels through regulatory mechanisms that provide for and ensure optimal emergency preparedness and disaster prevention in Zimbabwe.
It coordinates all stakeholders involved in disaster risk management, promote preparedness planning, prompt emergency response, early recovery and rehabilitation of affected elements and advocate for integration of disaster risk reduction into development for sustainability.
Albert Maipisi, who has specialised in floods and their effects, said it was shocking that someone could even think of diverting resources earmarked for the poor and vulnerable to their own personal use, much worse for political reasons.
“Accountability and responsibility are critical in humanitarian issues,” said Maipisi.
Head of disaster and risk management department at Bindura University of Science Education, Pathias Bongo, decried the country’s well-documented slow response to disasters.
“Emergencies should be attended to on time and that reduces instances of corruption. Now when aid takes long to get to the vulnerable communities, it kills stakeholders’ confidence and obviously slows the recovery process.
“On the same note, this could be a good lesson to communities in hazardous areas who survive on tokenism from donor agencies.
“These communities need to be empowered to withstand the predictable challenges they face on their own,” said Bongo.