Poverty and Pandemic Response in Zimbabwe

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1 Dynamic Research Journals (DRJ) Journal of Economics and Finance (DRJ-JEF) Volume 5 ~ Issue 1 (September, 2020) pp: ISSN (Online): Wellington Garikai Bonga *.Department of Banking & Finance, Great Zimbabwe University, Zimbabwe. ; Abstract: Zimbabwe has been in macroeconomic doldrums for a long time with the struggle still persisting. To date no single economic indicator points to the stability path, hence calling for proper policy stance to be adopted. For the current year, 2020, a world pandemic has emerged with possible serious economic impact to many nations, and Zimbabwe in not an exception. The world pandemic has been declared by WHO, and now commonly known as COVID-19, having started in China towards the end of Zimbabwean economic situation has on its own caused great impact on the welfare of its citizens including the working class. Outlook for the Zimbabwean economy remains gloomy as domestic vulnerabilities persists while COVID-19 pandemic poses new challenges. The paper argues that, while the impact of the pandemic are unavoidable, the existing poverty levels brought by decades of macroeconomic instability drives the situation higher. The study recommends proper coordination on policies and even implementation of reforms as a way to ensure the economy is in a steady state path of development. A steady economy is in a better position to fight pandemics and epidemics than a fragile state. Fragile states are never in a position to manage disasters. For the public, when the government fails, it is perhaps time to recall the social virtues of locallevel resilience and self-reliance to lesson impact of pandemics, epidemics and natural disasters. The private sector is recommended to quickly act on possible measures as a contribution to economic development and avoid ripple effects of pandemics. Key words: Disaster Management, Epidemics, Natural Disaster, Pandemics, Poverty, Response, Zimbabwe JEL Codes: D14, D31, D61, D63, E21, E24, H12, H51, H53, I32 I. Introduction Zimbabwe about four decades ago was a nation with economic prosperity and more was promising. This prediction, however did not materialize due to various economic, political, social factors among others, rather the economy turned into a begging nation, and failed to feed itself. Over the past decade, economic growth has been on a general declining trend, culminating in contraction by an estimated 6.5 percent in 2019 (UNDPZ, 2020). There have been many attempts to explain how a once relatively prosperous country like Zimbabwe has experienced such a profound decline (Bird and Prowse, 2009). Since then, various economic policies and reforms has been in place to resuscitate the economy, however, with unfavourable results. Analysts on various platforms debated with suggestions, some of which were never implemented while some were partially implemented hence failed to take the economy to the steady path for development. Many analysts agree that politics, poor governance and the weakening of the rule of law are major causes (Bird and Prowse, 2009), and reducing macroeconomic uncertainty is required (Bonga, 2019). There has been increased call for institutional reforms including restructuring and the addressing of corruption that has bedeviled the country, as a way to enable economic recovery. Bonga (2014) noted that corruption has become one of the most notoriously persistent and progressively worsening social problems afflicting Zimbabwe. The social and economic impact of corruption is greater in developing nations than developed world (Bonga, Chiminya and Mudzingiri; 2015). Various macroeconomic policies in Zimbabwe have ended up being economic blue prints, hence no delivery. A policy is only good if it gives solutions to the economic problems prevailing, or when it blocks some negatives to penetrate the economic engine (Bonga, 2016). There has been uneven implementation of reforms in Zimbabwe. In their analysis, OCHA (2019) indicated that government policies in Zimbabwe are worsening the country s economic crisis, causing immense hardship to those less well-off. Savings is one strong weapon for future uncertainties. Due to low earnings and reduced welfare for Zimbabwean citizens, the culture of saving for the future has greatly been impacted. As noted by Bonga and Mugayi (2018) civil servants and majority of citizens in Zimbabwe have been lowly paid compared to the poverty datum line, and this has defined their buying power on both locally produced goods and foreign products; on the other hand, nominal prices have been on the rise further eroding earnings of the majority of citizens. For any income earned the 7 P a g e

2 marginal propensity to save for the majority of citizens almost equals to none if not negative. The daily demands, including health care have been hard to meet. Such happenings in the economy led to political upheaval, and a few political reforms have been implemented in the last decade to correct macroeconomic imbalances. Apart from the demand-side and supply-side concepts, economic growth strongly rely on political stability (Bonga and Mugayi, 2018). Establishment of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in February 2009 partly eased the political, social and economic downturn that faced the country then, and rekindled the hope for recovery, growth and development (Mupetesi, Francis and Gomo, 2015). Bonga (2019) indicated that good events and policies are accompanied by low levels of uncertainty while bad events and controversial policies match with high levels of uncertainty. The political reforms, have never reaped the deemed results for economic recovery, and to date poverty exists and more is demanded as macroeconomic reforms for the betterment of the country. Sound macroeconomic policy is compulsory for all economies and without sound macroeconomic policy there cannot be growth (Nyoni and Bonga, 2017). The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (2016) acknowledged that, even though the high poverty levels are largely structural in nature, they are also exacerbated by transient factors rooted on economic policies and political factors as well as exogenous factors including climate change and HIV and AIDS epidemic, among others. In a press statement, IMF (2020) indicated that Zimbabwe is experiencing an economic and humanitarian crisis and that macroeconomic stability remains a challenge. Zimbabwean industries are still struggling to revive due to various underpinning factors, with the most cited being liquidity challenges, corruption and politics (Bonga and Mugayi, 2018). The crisis in Zimbabwe for the past decades spilled over to other countries in the region and world over. Human capital flight has been on the rise. Many citizens fled to greener pastures in nearby countries. Such diasporians have aided in reducing the economic impact on the welfare of those that remained in the country through remittances. Foreign aid also bailed out the economy significantly. Developed countries have always helped developing countries to the reduce suffering of mankind (Nyoni and Bonga, 2017), and indeed Zimbabweans benefited. According to Economic Commission for Africa (2015), high levels of poverty, increased exposure to hazards, cross-border influx, weak social protection policies and relatively weak institutional capacity undermine disaster risk reduction measures in the SADC subregion (Zimbabwe included). Given the state of the economy having high levels of poverty, the study seeks to report as observed the pandemic response by the citizens. Zimbabwe s readiness to adapt and/or mitigate pandemics, epidemics and/or natural disasters has come under spotlight given the macroeconomic status of the economy. Over the past 20 years, poverty rates in Zimbabwe have worsened (Mupetesi, Fancis and Gomo, 2015), and the trend is yet to halt. Poverty ratchets have been common as citizens sold their main assets to cover up effects of crisis, with most not able to replace such assets in the near future. This also happened before - during the period of lean socio-economic performance of Zimbabwe in 2008 desperate villagers country wide were exchanging their livestock for imported bags of mealie meal, cooking oil, sugar and other basic commodities (Practical Action, 2011). Exorbitant interest rates from money lenders (Chambers, 1983) have exploited many households leaving them poorer. Challenges of persistent poverty affect mostly young people and women who constitute over 65 per cent and 52 per cent of the total population (2012 Census), respectively (ZUNDAF ). Zimbabwe has been implementing poverty reduction strategies since the attainment of its independence in 1980 (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, 2016), however the results obtained remain calling for further measures with strong antipoverty focus. The pandemic just like other previous outbreaks in Zimbabwe highlighted the years of failed strategies by the government. Continuous poverty at the household, community, and national levels; inequalities within and between sectors; and global climate change contribute to the perpetuation and reemergence of neglected tropical or zoonotic diseases (Munyenyiwa et al, 2019). II. Impact of Pandemic on Society Pandemics are never new in this world (same with epidemics and natural disasters). However, witnessing of such among generations separates experience unless history is invited to literacy enhancement. Over the course of the past two decades, the world has witnessed a number of infectious disease outbreaks, which have shown a high speed of transmission (ILO, 2020). The explosive transmissibility and the severity of infection are considered to declare as a pandemic (see Morens, Folkers and Fauci (2009)). Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably (Kertscher, 2020). WHO defines pandemic as worldwide spread of a new disease. Travel and trade routes spread diseases - as societies were evolving, so too were disease patterns and scientific understanding of how diseases spread (Morens et. al, 2009). One of the plotted pandemics was the cholera of that spread from Asia towards Europe. The 1889 and 1918 influenza pandemics came at a time the understanding of pandemics was in place the development of 8 P a g e

3 vaccines and antisera. History has shown as pandemics diseases such as acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC), AIDS, cholera, dengue, influenza, plague, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), scabies, West Nile disease, and obesity. A number of communicable diseases can constitute significant threats at local, regional or global levels leading to epidemics or pandemics (IFRCRCS, 2018). The current COVID-19 emergence was marked by high rates of person-to-person transmission, including from asymptomatic carriers, combined with high severity of illness in vulnerable populations, including those with very common preexisting chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease (CDC, 2020). Pandemics become disasters when they cause large numbers of deaths, as well as illness, and/or have severe social and economic impacts (IFRCRCS, 2018). Countries might, through measures such as border closures and travel restrictions, delay arrival of the virus, but they cannot stop it (OSHA, 2009), and this is finally the case with many countries on COVID- 19 (Zimbabwe included). With the COVID-19, health workers have more risk as well as the health care system with no suitable flow of equipment to cater for the affected. Governments, employers, workers and their organizations face enormous challenges as they try to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and protect safety and health at work (ILO, 2020). The public has been repeatedly called on to flatten the curve, in reference to the social and behavioral changes that we as a society can undertake to slow the spread of disease (Sasangohar et al., 2020). Lockdowns and related business disruptions, travel restrictions, school closures and other containment measures have had sudden and drastic impacts on workers and enterprises (ILO, 2020a), as well as the general populace. Workers who believe that their employer provides a safe and healthy workplace are more likely to report for work during a pandemic (OSHA, 2014). Some workers lost their jobs, including informal workers. Informal workers account for around 61% of the global workforce (ILO, 2020) and have no protection and are vulnerable to risks. Working in the absence of protections such as sick leave or unemployment benefits, these workers may need to make a choice between health and income, which comes at a risk to both their health, the health of others and their economic wellbeing (ILO 2020b). The social vulnerability theory explains the situation in Zimbabwe. Social vulnerability refers to the inability of people, organizations, and societies to withstand adverse impacts from multiple stressors to which they are exposed (Mukangaanise, 2011). Social work views disasters in a stress related framework tinted by lenses that consider the disruption of societal functioning at a human level (Mhlanga et. al, 2019). Having high levels of poverty in the country as well as high rates of unemployment, most of the population is vulnerable hence in the event of a disaster happening the population will be severely stressed and shocked. Some groups in society are more prone than others to damage, loss and suffering in the context of different hazards (Blaikie et. al, 1994), given the skewed income distribution in Zimbabwe. Poor people suffer from crises more often than people who are richer because they have little or no savings, little income and limited resources (Mukanganise, 2011). III. Zimbabwe An Informal Sector Economy Tackling Pandemics Ability Zimbabwe is an informal sector economy as a result of economic meltdown for the past decades. The post political economic crisis, undermined previously strong bureaucratic institutions (Balogun, 2020), and thereby impacting the government s ability to adequately develop proper macroeconomic policies that have no bias for its citizens. The official unemployment rate stands at 11 percent although the vast majority of the people considered to be employed are engaged in low paying temporary insecure work and petty trade in the informal sector (UNDPZ, 2020). Prevention and addressing the pandemic COVID-19 calls for different measures from formal economies. According to IMF (2020), it is clear that COVID-19 will adversely impact the economic outlook for Zimbabwe and require additional health-related spending and international support. IMF has reported that the Covid- 19 would make it even harder for the government to balance the policies needed to restore macroeconomic stability with those needed to address urgent social needs (see UNDPZ; 2020). Chambers (1983) indicated some decades ago that there has been progress in the developing world but some continue to be trapped in absolute poverty and this remains the case with Zimbabwe. The general populace have already been strained by economic instability and barely have no reliable source of income. ILO (2020) indicated that, many workers, especially in developing countries, who work informally, simply must work, despite restrictions on movement and social interaction, as the alternative would be starvation. This is the case for Zimbabwe, such informal workers may not be able to comply with the precautions mandated by health authorities, such as physical distancing, hand washing or self-isolation. There exist increased risk of contagion if not provided with adequate support. Enforcing restrictions may psychologically cause anxiety, low mood, low motivation and anxious or depressive thoughts, among other mental issues. Risks of social tension remain high if the macroeconomic instability continues and external support is not forthcoming (MPO, 2020). Temporary closure of businesses imposed lead to a large proportion of workers, 9 P a g e

4 entrepreneurs and self-employed persons to be forced out of work hence losing their only opportunity for income, and as noted by Kim and Von dem Knesebeck (2015) depression, burnout and anxiety to the affected populace. An influenza pandemic is projected to have a global impact on morbidity and mortality, thus requiring a sustained, largescale response from the healthcare community (OSHA, 2009). IV. A Glimpse on Previous Pandemics, Epidemics & Natural Disasters in Zimbabwe Zimbabwe is one of the southern African countries that is prone to a variety of hazards (Mavhura, 2017). Disasters often disrupt the lives of many Zimbabweans including the loss of breadwinners and tender lives (Mukanganise, 2011). Zimbabwe once struggled to tackle an epidemic Cholera. Zimbabwe s health sector remains fragile and under-resourced, both in terms of financial and human resources (UNDPZ, 2020). Cholera outbreak occurred August 2008 and stretched to July Cholera was recorded in all the ten provinces of the country. A Cumulative Institutional Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 1.7%, was recorded in Zimbabwe, a figure too high for a disease with a known cure worldwide. Cholera came at a time when Zimbabwe was on its knees socio-economically and politically (Chipare, 2010). The epidemic was declared a state of disaster in December 2008, being a late date, and international assistance was then sort leading to establishment of treatment centres. As indicated by Balogun (2020) the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe was not an invisible enemy, but rather the result of a man-made, mutually reinforced policy failure by government. Reports indicated that that case management in health facilities was not up to the required minimum standards, and community involvement was minimal regarding surveillance and preventative activities (Chipare, 2010). To date, no significant improvements have been made in the health system, with a more dangerous pandemic (COVID-19) emerging globally, indicating policy deficiency in the country. Chigudu (2020) argues the cholera outbreak served as a perfect storm, opening a window to understanding the multiple ways disease affects the relationship of citizens with their government. Health epidemics often reveal underlying social, political and economic tensions in a society (Balogun, 2020). Worth noting is the issue of plagues in Zimbabwe. Three plague epidemic-prone areas in Zimbabwe are Hwange, Nkayi and Lupane (Hotez et al, 2007). The first incidence of plague in Zimbabwe occurred in September 1974 in Hwange National Park, and it was fully reported (Pugh and Parker, 1975). After plague had been diagnosed for the first time in Hwange National Park, more cases of human plague occurred in different parts of the Nkayi and Lupane districts (Munyenyiwa et al, 2019). For this plague, 23 cases and 8 deaths were reported in 1974 followed by 34 cases and 12 deaths in 1975 (WHO, 1999). The plague. Since the epidemic, sporadic cases of human plague continued to occur in Matabeleland North Province in 1982, 1983, and 1985 (WHO, 1999). In 1994, more cases of human plague than ever before were recorded in Zimbabwe (Munyenyiwa et al, 2019), 329 human plague cases and 28 deaths were reported (Manungo et al, 1998). Other plague cases in Zimbabwe occurred in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2012 (WHO, 1999), and no cases of human plague were reported from 2013 to 2018 in the country (Munyenyiwa et al, 2019). HIV which is now globally known, with no existing known cure, but medicines to minimize and control its impacts have been found, also has greatly affected the nation Zimbabwe for decades. Currently, Zimbabwe has a high HIV prevalence, and unprotected heterosexual sex being the main transmission route for new infections. Zimbabwe has no capacity to handle the epidemic disease - around two-thirds of HIV expenditure comes from international donor sources. To date awareness of the epidemic has been spread across the country and knowledge for its prevention has been distributed - behaviour change communication, high treatment coverage and mother-to-child transmission prevention are responsible for decline in infections. In 2019, there were 40,000 new HIV infections, down from 62,000 in 2010 (Avert, 2020). There still exist hard to test groups in Zimbabwe to enable HIV treatment. In 2015, Population Services International and UNITAID began HIV Self-Testing Africa (STAR), a four-year project to scale up selftesting in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia (Avert, 2020). Apart from the mentioned epidemics and pandemics, also exist natural disasters in form of floods and cyclones affecting the country Zimbabwe for the past decades. In support, Chanza et. al (2020) narrated that the past two decades have been punctuated by a series of cyclones, which have left serious impacts in the entire socioeconomic system. History of cyclones include Cyclone Eline in 2000, Cyclone Japhet in 2003, Cyclone Dineo in 2017 and Cyclone Idai in The most recent is the Chimanimani disaster in 2019, caused by Cyclone Idai which caused the deaths of many people and displacement of hundreds of families. The core infrastructure was also damaged roads, and bridges, electricity and water networks, schools, hosspitals and telecommunication. Affected areas by Cyclone Idai were Chipinge and Chimanimani on the Eastern part of Zimbabwe. Cyclone Idai originated from a tropical depression that formed off the east coast of Mozambique in March The impact of Cyclone Idai could have been minimized if disaster preparedness in the country was efficient. Chanza et. al (2020) indicated that Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe exposed deficiencies in the country s disaster management system. Weather forecast have already predicted the disaster, and the responsible authorities failed to take appropriate measures including notifying and 10 P a g e

5 displacing natives to safer zones. The message about Cyclone Idai, and how it was projected to affect did not effectively filter to the community (Chanza et. al, 2020), with some population resisting the information given to them to vacate low lying areas. The trust of responsible agencies is also recognised as one of the most important influences upon risk perceptions and responses to official communication (Tapsell et. al, 2010), which might be a significant concern. To summarise, Zimbabwe is a country that has been devastated by natural or man-made disasters (Mukanganise, 2011), and the major hazards are hydro-meteorological (droughts and floods), geologic (earthquakes and landslides), biological (gastro-intestinal tract infections and HIV and AIDS), technological (road traffic accidents) and land degradation (deforestation, veld fires and gold panning), (Mavhura, 2017). All these require effective disaster preparedness to ensure minimum damage to property and human and animal lives. V. Mitigation Strategies for Disasters in Zimbabwe (Existing Frameworks) There is no country or region that is immune to disasters though vulnerability to disasters differs (Tawona, 2014). Regionally, disasters have turned into a hindrance even to the sustainable development in Africa (Kufandada, 2016). To mitigate and prepare for hazards, the Government of Zimbabwe enacted the Civil Protection Act as disaster legislation and created several institutions such as the Department of Civil Protection which is charged with the coordination and management of disasters and hazards (Mavhura, 2017). According to the African Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Management, disaster risk reduction policies and institutional mechanisms do exist at various degrees of completeness in African countries. The Department of Civil Protection in Zimbabwe is a national organ, which is housed under the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. The Department of Civil Protection in Zimbabwe manages a Disaster Fund, which is financed by the Central Government. Due to high levels of corruption in Zimbabwe, the effectiveness of the Fund has been affected through abuse and misuse of the funds. Rampant corruption and poor prioritization in the allocation of available resources work to undermine the capacity of the government s to respond to disasters. The Fund may however not be able to fulfil all disaster management initiatives as required for a given period. The impact of disasters is further worsened in poor countries whose capacity to prevent, prepare, mitigate and respond is weak (Manikai, 2009). Kufandada (2016) indicated that it is the duty of the Department of Civil Protection and other important stakeholders to minimize disaster impacts by responding to the disasters through their different roles. The Department of Civil Protection is a creation from the Civil Protection Act (2001) 1(2). The Civil Protection Act (Chapter 10:06) remains the main piece of legislation governing disaster oriented work in Zimbabwe. Law enactment to support disaster management is a great step for mitigating future disasters. This shows that the government is to a great extend prepared to manage disasters though more has to be done by availing more resources to avert impacts of disasters (Simba, 2018). Planning for emergencies in Zimbabwe is done at various levels namely sectoral level, local authority, district, provincial and national levels. Local governments are proximate to disaster sites and have at least some emergency capacity, they can respond quickly to initial alerts (Kufandada, 2016). At district level there exist a District Civil Protection Committee chaired by the District Administrator. The Committee consists of members from various government departments as articulated in the Civil Protection Act. Partners including UN agencies and NGOs have continuously played a key role in providing financial, material and logistical support to the Department of Civil Protection. If any disaster exceeds government capacity to respond, the authorities request assistance from international community. NGOs have an important role to play in disaster response as they provide mainly humanitarian assistance to disaster victims (Kufandada, 2016). Mhlanga, Muzingili and Mpambela (2019) in their study reported that social work practice in Zimbabwe still perpetuates the values and ideals of neo-liberalism; without careful consideration of the consequences of natural disasters on vulnerable populations. Communities should not be left vulnerable to calamities. Natural disasters are intricately linked to the concept of social vulnerability (Mhlanga et. al, 2019). Anderson and Woodrow (1998) defined vulnerability as the long term factors which affect the ability of a community to respond to events or which make it susceptible to calamities. While all people living in hazard areas are vulnerable, the social impacts of hazard exposure often fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable people in society the poor, minorities, children, the elderly and disabled (Tapsell et. al, 2010). Kufandada (2016) referring to floods of February 2000 in the Zambezi Basin reported that mostly affected were the vulnerable groups which include the old people, women and children. As supported by Simba (2018), very little has been done to equip communities in terms of training and information dissemination especially in rural areas. With all the good policies for disaster management in Zimbabwe, fatalities do happen more than the expected, and poor disaster management has been cited. The institutions for the purpose exist with challenges to handle the task, including misuse of funds. Tawana (2014) indicated that effective early warning systems and effective disaster preparedness activities are derailed by lack of adequate financial resources yet a national budget allocation to the 11 P a g e

6 respective institutions. Zimbabwe has a good policy framework on paper but not supported by practices on the ground (Mavhura, 2017). There is need to improve coordination from national to local level and also there is need to fund early warning systems (Mukanganise, 2011). Lack of sufficient communication will also impede on effective disaster response (Kufandada, 2016). A donor dependency syndrome has also developed in the country, where overreliance on donor funding exist to solve crises and disasters. Due to poor disaster management, there is modern realization that humans are the causal agents of disasters. VI. Recommendations and Policy Implications Poverty is a major factor in human and social vulnerability to disasters, and tends to underlie reduced coping and adaptive capacity following a disaster (ECA, 2015). The recognition that poverty, vulnerability and disasters are inextricably linked, places vulnerability reduction at the heart of development, poverty reduction and disaster risk reduction strategies (Practical Action, 2011). To minimize and eliminate the impact of pandemics, epidemics and natural disasters, the study recommends the following measures to be taken either by government, institutions, private sector and/or citizens. Capacitating Institutions. Capacitation of the institutions involved in disaster risk reduction is required so as to execute fully their mandates. The institutions in Zimbabwe have severe challenges in executing their mandate resulting in the increase of disaster impacts (Mavhura, 2017). Structured training on large-scale disaster management and response. People should be aware of the impact that pandemics have on the society, and should respond quickly and properly once it is noticed or forecasted. Resistance should be eliminated from the public through awareness programs. Innovation required consistently. Disasters necessitate innovation, but they should not drive innovation, economies should be well ahead as a disaster management stance. In reality, there is a dearth of manufacturing capacity and materials to produce many of these solutions, hence it should be implemented as an ongoing strategic plan for the nation to minimize costs. Human capital development necessity. For the current pandemic, and other epidemics and natural disasters, there has always severe shortage of medical personnel. This calls for the increasing need to develop many skilled labor for such critical support to the nation. Human capital flight should be minimized and avoided. Adequate information and statistics should be available. Data Deserts in Africa and many developing countries do exist. Incomplete information hampers effective planning. Responsible institutions for data should provide as mandated, and address their challenges to ensure efficiency in their work. Severity Assessment Framework. A framework should be in place for any pandemic, epidemic and/or natural disaster. Home remedies. Community Mitigation Guidance for use of non-pharmaceutical interventions should be in place as a response strategy to lessen the impact of a pandemic, epidemic and/or natural disaster. It is recommended to marry indigenous knowledge with scientific knowledge as part of helping communities to cope when disasters come (Mukanganise, 2011). Most developing countries do not have robust pandemic plans and very few exercise response efforts. Culture at work. Ensuring Safety and Health at work should be mandatory for many organisations. The development of the culture will go a long way to help harness pandemics and other disasters. Partnership. Collaboration with state and federal partners is vital to ensure that healthcare workers are adequately protected during pandemics. With COVID-19, a lot of healthcare workers were exposed due to lack of adequate protective clothing and other requirements. Advocacy and lobbying by communities. It is recommended that communities through their traditional leaders make as much noise as is possible with the government to ensure that resources are set aside to cater for disasters (Makanganise, 2011). Political Constraints. Give precedence and a chance for everyone to engage in Disaster Risk Reduction even NGO s (Simba, 2018). Disaster Risk Script. Each society should develop its own unique and localised way of interpreting a disaster, which comes in the form of a script, that needs to be deciphered, read, analysed and understood within local priorities and knowledge systems (Bongo et. al, 2013). The study clearly demonstrated that awareness, preparedness and resilience determine the outcome of the impact of any hazard. Welfare status of citizens do matter to reduce the impact of any disaster. The lessons documented by this study demonstrate that when confronted with seemingly inadequate government intervention to disasters, then it is time to recall the social virtues of local-level resilience and self-reliance. Community participation in disaster 12 P a g e

7 response is very essential and the first humanitarian actors on site after the occurrence of a disaster are the local community and local government (Kufandada, 2016). Generally, it is beyond the capabilities of government to offer what may be required by citizens when the disaster scope and magnitude are beyond a localized event. Communities do not just sit back when confronted with disasters, they take action at local level utilising available resources (Mukanganise, 2011). To attain such, efforts should start with education and leadership that instill a sense of community and duty to the community, into the fabric of our society. Despite the presence of risk awareness and risk reduction education programs in Zimbabwe, there remains significant scope for improvement. Disasters do come again, and it is the citizens choice to act. References [1]. Anderson, M. B. and Woodrow, P. J. (1998). Rising From the Ashes: Development Strategies in Times of Disaster. Intermediate Technology Publications, London. [2]. Avert (2020). HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe. Global information and education on HIV and AIDS. [3]. Balogun, E (2020). Epidemics reveal underlying societal tensions: That was the case in Zimbabwe s cholera outbreak, too. The Washington Post. [4]. Bird, K and Prowse, M (2009). Vulnerability, poverty and coping in Zimbabwe. Chronic Poverty Research Centre, Working Paper No [5]. Blaikie. P., Cannon, T., Davis, I., and Wisner, B. (1994) At risk: Natural hazards, people s vulnerability, and disasters. Routledge: London. [6]. Bonga WG, Chiminya J and Mudzingiri C (2015). An Explanatory Analysis of the Economic and Social Impact of Corruption in Zimbabwe. IOSR Journal of Economics and Finance, Volume 6, Issue 1, PP [7]. Bonga, WG (2014). An Empirical Investigation of the Nature of Corruption in Zimbabwe. PhD Thesis, School of Business and Economics, Atlantic International University, Honolulu, Hawai. [8]. Bonga, WG (2016). An Explanatory Analysis of Components Constituting Economic Policy Success in Zimbabwe. Dynamic Research Journals Journal of Economics and Finance, Volume 1 ~ Issue 1, pp: [9]. Bonga, WG (2019). Measuring Macroeconomic Uncertainty in Zimbabwe. MPRA Paper No [10]. Bonga, WG and Mugayi, P (2018). An Explanatory Analysis of the Potential Impact of Citizens Purchasing Power on Industry Revival in Zimbabwe. Researchjournali s Journal of Economics, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp [11]. Bongo, P.P., Chipangura, P., Sithole, M. & Moyo, F., 2013, Dynamics of configuring and interpreting the disaster risk script: Experiences from Zimbabwe, Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5(2), Art. #93. [12]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary. CDC.gov; Available at: Accessed August 18, [13]. Chambers, R (1983). Rural Development: Putting the Last First. Harlow: Prentice Hall. [14]. Chanza, N., Siyongwana, PQ., Williams-Bruinders, L., Gundu-Jakarasi, V., Mudavanhu, C., Sithole, BV., Manyani, A (2020). Closing the Gaps in Disaster Management and Response: Drawing on Local Experiences with Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, Beijing Normal University Press. [15]. Chigudu, S (2020). The Political Life of an Epidemic: Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship in Zimbabwe. Cambridge University Press. [16]. Chipare, T (2010). Strategies to Cope with the Impact of Cholera on Zimbabwe from 2008 to 2009: A Case Study of Budiriro High Density Suburb, City of Harare. Masters Thesis, Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa, University of The Free State. [17]. ECA (2015). Assessment report on mainstreaming and implementing disaster risk reduction in Southern Africa United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. [18]. Hotez PJ, Molyneux DH, Fenwick A, Kumaresan J, Sachs SE (2007). Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. N Engl J Med, 357: [19]. IFRCRCS (2018). Major Epidemic and Pandemic Diseases: Public awareness and public education for disaster risk reduction. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. [20]. ILO (2020). In the face of a pandemic: Ensuring Safety and Health at Work. International Labour Organization. [21]. ILO (2020a). ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Second edition Updated estimates and analysis. International Labour Organization. [22]. ILO (2020b). COVID-19 cruelly highlights inequalities and threatens to deepen them. International Labour Organization, [23]. IMF (2020). IMF Executive Board Concludes 2020 Article IV Consultation with Zimbabwe. IMF Communications Department, Press Release No. 20/ P a g e

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