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Zimbabwe’s Greener Pastures Lie Dormant

A decade ago, Lloyd Gweshengwe migrated to Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, lured by the region’s abundant rainfall, fertile soils and good grazing land for his livestock. In the low-lying, parched areas of Gutaurare area in Manicaland province, where Gweshengwe used to live, rain-fed agriculture was longer sustainable. Recurring droughts would frequently wiped out crops, while clean water sources would dry up. In 2019, Cyclone Idai pummelled the Eastern Highlands, killing more than 300 people, leaving thousands homeless and a trail of destruction. Tropical Storm Chalane and Cyclone Eloise hit parts of the area in 2020 and 2021 respectively, also causing damage. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the lack of an accepted definition of an environmental refugee means that, unless people are relocated by extreme weather events, their displacement does not trigger any access to financial grants, food aid, tools, shelter, schools or clinics. Charity Migwi, Africa regional campaigner for, said storms in 2019 afected more than two million people in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, some of whom had to migrate to different regions.