‘Honour, recognise women in humanitarian work’

BY FARAI MATIASHE

OXFAM Zimbabwe acting director Jabusile Shumba has called on the nation to honour and recognise women who sacrificed their lives offering humanitarian assistance during natural disasters.

His call comes at a time the country yesterday joined the world in commemorating World Humanitarian Day, a day dedicated to recognising humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.

“This year’s theme Women Humanitarians celebrates female aid workers who sacrifice everything, including their lives to deliver much-needed assistance to vulnerable communities around the world,” Shumba said, while addressing the World Humanitarian Day policy dialogue workshop in Harare.

“Notably, women are also often the first time responders and sadly their roles and voices are not given their place and their urgency unrecognised. Oxfam is committed to ensure the humanitarian response system needs to challenge than reinforce this inequality.”

He said Oxfam was recognising the women that provided humanitarian assistance when Cyclone Idai hit Chimanimani and Chipinge early this year.

Speaking at the same event, consultant Kudzai Chatiza said there was need to strengthen rural and urban settlements and infrastructure regulatory regimes in Cyclone Idai-hit areas based on appropriate policies and standards, which would usefully guide re-planning of settlements and engineering of building materials that are suitable for hazard-prone areas.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government chairperson Miriam Chikukwa said government should partner developing partners to come up with disaster preparedness frameworks.

“Ultimately, the impetus is upon everyone here present to spread the spirit of ubuntu that was exhibited during the (tropical storm). It is important for each and everyone, you and I, to join hands and work together in the development of a sound disaster management framework,” she said.

“It is pertinent that we swiftly depart from the long and winding road of gradualism, and detour into the narrower road of swift action, if we are to abate such disasters in the future. We cannot continue losing lives when we can develop laws and policies that can invariably reduce the impact of such disasters.”

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