Canada, UK pour funds into cyclone relief programmes


By Farai Matiashe

Canada has pledged $3,5 million towards relief to countries recently hit by Cyclone Idai-induced floods while the British government has unveiled more funding to Zimbabwe.

The furious storm left a trail of destruction after ravaging Mozambique, Malawi and the eastern parts of Zimbabwe, killing hundreds while about 350 people were recorded missing in Chipinge and Chimanimani.

In a statement, Canada said when vulnerable populations were faced with deadly humanitarian disasters, its citizens stood ready to assist them.

Canadian Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, Maryam Monsef, announced the initial funding of up to $3,5 million in emergency assistance to support humanitarian organisations responding to the devastation caused by tropical Cyclone Idai in southern Africa.

“(The) humanitarian assistance will focus on meeting the immediate food, shelter, water, sanitation, health and protection needs of households displaced by flooding,” the statement read.

Canada has also provided tarpaulins, shelter kits, mosquito nets and blankets to the people affected by the cyclone as part of efforts to help those in need.

Monsef said Canada’s assistance was to be provided in partnership with the United Nations, Red Cross and some non-governmental organisations.

“Canada is providing life-saving humanitarian assistance as Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe deal with the impact of this horrific tropical cyclone. Canada’s assistance, provided through trusted humanitarian partners, would help meet the immediate needs of vulnerable communities in all three countries,” she said.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom through the Department for International Development (DFID) yesterday allocated more than US$500 000 as additional support to the people in Manicaland province.

The humanitarian assistance is aimed at preventing diseases in the affected districts, amid fears that there might be an outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid since people in the area were using bush toilets and decomposing bodies had not yet been retrieved.

In a statement yesterday, DFID said it had donated an additional US$650 000 to support Zimbabweans in need, bringing UK’s contribution of emergency assistance in Zimbabwe to over US$1,1 million.

The UK has committed US$28,9m to support the humanitarian response to Cyclone Idai victims in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

DFID said the funding was to be channelled towards improving the health of the people in Chimanimani and Chipinge.

“Today’s US$650 000 support will provide critical support to affected people in districts which face the risk of water-borne diseases. The funding will help to prevent potential water, sanitation and hygiene-related disease disasters exacerbating the already devastating impact of the cyclone,” the statement read in part.

“The support will provide basic hygiene kits, including soap, buckets and water purification tablets. Also for safe drinking water to affected people, including those displaced in Chimanimani and Chipinge, by restoring piped water systems and installing tanks; and to set up sanitation facilities in key areas to reduce open defecation and minimise the risk of water contamination.”

DFID said the UK response had delivered nutrition supplies, essential medicines, which include treatment for diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, tuberculosis and malaria, and family planning to health centres across the affected areas, including airlifting supplies to Mutambara Mission Hospital in Chimanimani.

DFID Zimbabwe head, Annabel Gerry said she intended to continue monitoring the situation very closely and stood ready to provide further support if needed.

“The people of Zimbabwe as well as those in Mozambique and Malawi are firmly in our thoughts at this difficult time. We will continue to assess the situation closely; the UK stands ready to provide further support if needed,” she said.