Building-back-better in post-disaster recovery: Lessons learnt from Cyclone Idai-induced floods in Zimbabwe

Ernest Dube, Gayan Wedawatta*, Kanchana Ginige

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
146 Downloads (Pure)


This study evaluated the build-back-better considerations in post-disaster recovery, following the devastation of Chipinge and Chimanimani communities by Cyclone Idai-induced floods in 2019. Conducted in 2020, the study assessed the impact of Cyclone Idai-induced floods on communities in Chipinge and Chimanimani Districts of Zimbabwe; evaluated the build-back-better considerations; and analyzed the lessons learned. Based on a qualitative approach and case study design, the study depended on focus group discussions, interviews, and researcher observations to gather data from 85 participants. The findings indicate that Cyclone Idai-induced floods seriously impacted human lives, infrastructure, and livelihoods of communities that had been living with flood risk and vulnerability. Build-back-better considerations were absent in much of the post-disaster recovery effort to address the cyclone disaster impact. There are important early lessons for both practitioners and community members to learn from the Cyclone Idai event. These lessons still can inform policy and disaster risk reduction practice in the medium and long term. Build-back-better should be a mandatory objective in the recovery from any disaster impact. Continuous training is also recommended to improve the disaster knowledge of stakeholders and increase local ability to cope with future disaster events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700–712
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Science
Early online date18 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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