Red Cross opens kiosk at Beitbridge

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RED CROSS

BY REX MPHISA
A KIOSK to service travellers between Zimbabwe and South Africa was opened on Monday by the     Zimbabwe Red Cross Society in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Beitbridge.

The kiosk will target migrants in a bid to link them with their families and relatives.  It will also provide internet and phone services, as well as storage facilities for important documents for migrants.

Annually, Beitbridge handles thousands of immigrants through official and non-official crossing points.

Beitbridge district development co-ordinator Sikhangezile Mafu described the centre as a necessity for any country.

“We are a migrant district and the Red Cross response is important and essential. It is needs-based and unites families, which is key to the development of any country,” Mafu said.

She said Beitbridge district was vulnerable to natural disasters, making Red Cross’ presence in the area crucial.

Zimbabwe Red Cross Society secretary general, Elias Hwenga, said the kiosk would be run by Red Cross attendants and offer alerts and warnings, as well as important information to migrants.

“The opening of this fourth Red Safe kiosk in Zimbabwe, conveniently located in Beitbridge which is the busiest road border post in southern Africa, will bring the much-needed facilities conveniently closer to the migrating population, enabling them to easily access services aimed at restoring and maintaining contact with their families,” Hwenga said.

“I encourage all migrants to download the app or consult the RedSafe website. Many struggle with practical issues to register their children at school, access health services, get birth certificates, or arrange transport for repatriation,” said Marie-Astrid Blondiaux, ICRC protection coordinator.

“Dozens of organisations are providing assistance and protection to migrants, but they may not know about the vast services available or how to access them. The app bridges this gap.”

Red Cross is also developing a website to assist migrants to access vital information about the Southern Africa Development Community region.

It is hoped that the site will help migrants to deal with absentee registrations of children at schools, and to access health services, and birth registration.

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