Zimbabwe: Cyclone Idai, Sanctions and Capitalism

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1802 ... April 10, 2019
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Zimbabwe: Cyclone Idai, Sanctions and Capitalism

Mafa Kwanisai Mafa

About a month ago Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique were devastated by a tropical cyclone that was described by the United Nations as one of the worst disasters ever to strike the Southern Hemisphere. Approximately 2.6 million people were affected in the three countries. Cyclone Idai hit the Mozambican port city of Beira with winds up to 170km/h. It then proceeded inland into Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings and taking more than 1,000 people, with many others unaccounted for across the three countries. Torrential rainfall washed away road networks in Zimbabwe.

Western capitalists are to blame largely for climatic changes that cause natural and environmental disasters. Poverty, which is a result of the diabolic and pernicious... economic sanctions, has forced the poor to build weak structures that do not withstand the heavy winds and storms.

The economic prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank have forced countries like Zimbabwe to reduce their budgets on social services as they seek to impress and attract investors and credit lines in line with the neoliberal path which the country has embarked on. Sanitation, emergency services, disease outbreak prevention are all poorly resourced, and often times we lose lives that could have been saved. Statistics of past natural disasters in poor countries reveal the higher death tolls compared to rich countries. The Civil Protection Unit of Zimbabwe developed the National Flood Plan Management framework, but because of lack of resources the plan for disaster management was not fully implemented.

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