UN avails US$20m humanitarian assistance

Rutendo Matanhike

United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock yesterday allocated US$20 million from the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to ramp up the humanitarian response to tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

In a statement, the UN said the bulk of the funding will kick-start the response in worst-hit parts of Mozambique.

In Zimbabwe, the storm caused havoc in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts, leading to flash flooding, deaths and the destruction of livelihoods and properties.

“The CERF funds will complement the three governments’ immediate efforts to provide life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to affected communities, including in health, food security, protection, nutrition and education,” Lowcock said.

“Vulnerable groups such as children, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, people with disabilities and those affected by chronic illnesses will be prioritised.”

He said allocation will also help humanitarian organisations to rapidly support critical logistics and emergency telecommunications and scale up water and emergency health services to reduce the risk of vector and waterborne diseases.

Meanwhile, more companies and organisations in Zimbabwe continue to chip in with donations towards humanitarian relief efforts.

Stanbic Bank purchased an assortment of goods worth ZWR$200 000, while an additional ZWR$50 000 was set aside for needs that may arise in the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Speaking during the handover of the goods in Harare yesterday, Stanbic spokesperson Palmer Magavha said the goods included 39 tents, five by 2,5 KVA generators, 700 blankets, 2 000 cases of bottled water, 2 000 packs of reusable sanitary pads and 500 black plastic sheets.

University of Zimbabwe staff members are also carrying out a resource mobilisation initiative through the Zimbabwe Red Cross to contribute to mitigation and recovery efforts.

They have established the UZ Idai Resource Mobilisation Initiative (UZIRMI) to facilitate collection of donations in kind from all those who were seeking a channel for giving goods and services to the victims.

UZIRMI has established a collection point at Women’s Law Centre for donations in kind for the convenience of the public and this was being coordinated by Julie Stewart.

“The initiative is also mobilising for donation of specialist skills (like medical personnel, community workers, social workers, planners, required in disaster mitigation and recovery,” organisers said in a statement.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority deployed 46 tanks and two water bowsers to help provide potable water to areas affected by Cyclone Idai in Manicaland.

“The deployment of these tanks is part of the interventions by the authority to ensure that affected communities get safe potable water until normalcy returns,” Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga said.

Makeshift water treatment plants and water supply systems were also being put in place at the centres where affected people are currently gathered and at some of the areas whose water supply systems were affected by flooding, Munyonga said.

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