by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE – A SEVERE shortage of fuel is hindering efforts to reach thousands of people displaced by the deadly Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe.
The shortages are impacting on 270 000 victims that survived the storms mostly in the eastern parts of the country in recent weeks.
World Food Programme (WFP), an agency of the United Nations (UN), said the unavailability of aviation fuel was impacting in the transportation of humanitarian cargo and personnel to affected areas in the Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.
“There is currently a shortage of Jet-A1 fuel,” the organisation lamented.
WFP stated it was liaising with the Zimbabwean government to identify solutions so that air operations were restored.
Apart from aviation fuel, WFP noted that diesel and petrol were scarce in the major towns in eastern Zimbabwe.
The country has been battling fuel shortages for months. Violent protests rocked the country in January after government announced a steep increase in the price of the commodity.
Air operations have emerged as the most feasible mode to rescue victims after Cyclone Idai destroyed bridges and roads.
WFP has deployed a helicopter to assist with rescue operations.
At least 415 deaths and over 200 injuries have been reported following the cyclone in Zimbabwe.
No less than 217 people are reportedly still missing. Some 16 000 homes have been destroyed.
Humanitarian agencies fear these figures will rise in the days ahead as the full extent of the damage and loss of life becomes known.
– CAJ News