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The World Bank Board of Directors approved today a $72 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) Crisis Response Window (CRW) to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP). The financing will help mitigate the impact of Cyclone Idai on the most affected communities of Zimbabwe and lay a foundation for regional recovery and longer-term resilience.

Given Zimbabwe’s non-accrual status with the World Bank, the ZIRP will be processed and financed on an exceptional basis, reflecting international recognition of the unprecedented humanitarian crisis caused by cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe. These funds will be disbursed to UNOPS, which will work with other UN Agencies, such as the World Food Program (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for project implementation.

The unprecedented scale of the impact of cyclone Idai on Zimbabwe represents the country’s most devastating recorded natural disaster, compounding the country’s already fragile humanitarian situation. The cyclone and its aftermath directly impacted 270,000 people; displaced close to 60,000 people; caused estimated direct damages of $622 million; and significantly damaged infrastructure, properties, crops, and livestock, with estimated building-back-better needs of up to $1.1 billion.

“The already acute economic and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe was further worsened due to the damage inflicted by Cyclone Idai. This warrants an extraordinary and urgent response from the World Bank, and we are engaging partners to mount an effective response that addresses the most critical needs for immediate and sustainable disaster recovery,” said Paul Noumba Um, Country Director for South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The project will target the most affected districts, with a focus on immediate interventions to support livelihoods regeneration and restoration of productive agricultural and livestock capacities and healthcare services, as well as medium-term recovery and resilience-building to rehabilitate critical community infrastructure, such as water and sanitation systems, community schools, roads, and disaster risk mitigation and preparedness.

The World Bank’s support complements the ongoing cyclone response by providing timely and flexible financing that enhances the coping capacity of the affected communities while humanitarian operations continue in tandem through other partners.

“ZIRP addresses critical issues at the humanitarian-development nexus, combining best practice from both fields. This multi-sectoral approach provides a more integrated, holistic, and sustainable solution and truly illustrates the power of partnerships,” said R. Mukami Kariuki, Country Manager for Zimbabwe.

The project will engage the government’s national, provincial and local structures at the various stages to ensure close coordination and collaboration with the programs of humanitarian and developmental agencies involved in supporting cyclone recovery in Zimbabwe.

Beyond the project just approved by its Board, the World Bank will also mobilize additional trust fund resources to provide technical assistance to the Government of Zimbabwe in setting up an overall programmatic Disaster Recovery and Resilience Framework to help it coordinate the efforts of all agencies supporting disaster recovery in the country.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The World Bank Group.