Chimanimani, Zimbabwe, one of the hard-hit areas of Cyclone Idai
Zimbabwe government and the United Nations say they are struggling raise funds to reduce the effects of Cyclone Idai which left a trail of destruction in Chimanimani district, about 500km east of Harare, June 9, 2019. (Photo by C. Mavhunga/VOA)

HARARE - Cyclone Idai ripped through eastern Zimbabwe three months ago, after striking Mozambique and Malawi. On Monday, a top U.N. official for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief said Zimbabweans in the storm-hit areas are still struggling to get food and medicine.

Ursula Mueller said Monday the situation in the cyclone-hit areas of Zimbabwe is still "devastating and distressing."

The U.N. relief official said people are still food insecure and cannot access basic health care.

“This is particularly distressing for people living with HIV who face a double dilemma of being unable to access drugs. Even if they can access them, not be being able to absorb them on an empty stomach," she said.

Ursula Mueller, the UN Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator
Ursula Mueller says that the situation in Cyclone Idai hit areas in Zimbabwe was still "devastating and distressing."

Mueller, who is visiting Harare, said the U.N. and its partners have received just 40 percent of the $294 million they appealed for to respond to the effects of Cyclone Idai.

That is certainly not good news for people like 79-year-old Everisto Gambire, whose home was totally destroyed by Cyclone Idai. He survived – but not his four grandchildren.

Everisto Gambire, whose home was totally destroyed by Cyclone Idai
Everisto Gambire, whose home was totally destroyed by Cyclone Idai, fears the natural disaster might hit the area again. (Photo by C. Mavhunga/VOA)

“It’s still painful up to now. They had grown up and I could manage to send them to do some chores like cleaning dishes when their grandmother was not around. The loss is still troubling my mind. My son Mathew is really hurt too for his loss of children. He is suggesting of relocating. Remaining here in this place is troubling him," he said.

El Lovemore Utseya, the councilor for Chimanimani, said he has been overwhelmed by people, like Gambire, who want to be relocated.

“They are really pleading, asking for new places to settle as it is now difficult to live in hilly areas. All their fields and grazing lands were wiped out by the heavy rains and winds,” he said.

Lovemore Utseya, a councilor Chimanimani District in Zimbabwe
Lovemore Utseya says he has been overwhelmed by people who want to be relocated as they are still being tormented by the effects of Cyclone Idai. (Photo by C. Mavhunga/VOA)

Mueller said it was “very important that there are plans and actions to resettle these people in areas that are not disaster-prone.”

But with the lack of funding for the relief efforts, it might take time for people like Gambire and his family to find a new home.