US adds US$2,5m to cyclone victims

BY own correspondent

The United States government has made an additional US$2,5 million contribution towards Zimbabwe’s emergency needs following the Cyclone Idai disaster.

In a statement, the US embassy in Harare said the contribution, provided through the US Agency for International Development (USAid) office of food for peace, will support immediate food needs in the most affected areas of Manicaland province.

It said USAid will work through the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide immediate food assistance to approximately 133 000 individuals affected by the cyclone in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.

The contribution includes more than 2 000 tonnes of sorghum, vegetable oil and fortified cereals.

“The United States stands with the people of Zimbabwe during this devastating time. The humanitarian assistance from USAid will save lives and alleviate suffering as people rebuild following the tragedy of Cyclone Idai,” US Ambassador Brian A Nichols said

WFP country director Eddie Rowe further stated: “This timely contribution from USAid is key in meeting the immediate food needs of the people who are still battling to recover from the catastrophic impact of Cyclone Idai and support early recovery efforts as they start to rebuild their lives.”

The US government has provided nearly $10 million in humanitarian assistance to help people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi who have been affected by Cyclone Idai.

This includes US$100 000 for GOAL Zimbabwe to support water, sanitation, hygiene and shelter for 36 400 individuals in cyclone-affected areas of Manicaland province.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) said it has contributed €250 000 (US$281 035) to United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) for vital water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies to vulnerable children and families in flood-affected districts.

According to the EU, the cyclone affected some 270 000 people (half of them children) in the districts of Chimanimani and Chipinge, in Manicaland province, creating an immediate need for safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and hygiene materials.

“With limited access to basic WASH services, pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with disabilities are especially at risk of infectious diseases such as cholera and diarrheal,” said the EU.

“Cyclone Idai flooding destroyed the water distribution system in affected areas, with some 13 pumping stations no longer functional and over 200 boreholes seriously damaged or swept away. Well over 100 schools lost access to sanitation facilities in areas where sanitation coverage was already low (43 % in Chipinge and 46% in Chimanimani).”

The EU said its contribution will support the distribution of water purification tablets and soap to households, schools and health institutions, the rehabilitation and repair of critical water supply networks, and where needed, the drilling of boreholes and the construction of new water points.

In addition, to promote good sanitation and hygiene practices in the affected areas, temporary sanitation and handwashing facilities were being set up at holding camps.

The WFP said reports of shortages of Jet A-1 fuel in Zimbabwe would not negatively impact on relief efforts.

WFP Zimbabwe said it was working closely with the Department of Civil Protection and local fuel suppliers to secure adequate fuel supplies for its current operations.

“WFP continues to liaise with government and other partners to ensure sufficient access to fuel to continue air operations to affected areas,” said the UN agency.

WFP said it was currently providing humanitarian air services to some 20 partners, supporting the delivery of urgently-needed relief items including food, medicine and shelter to those in need in Chimanimani and Chipinge.

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