By Idah Mhetu
SOME 1 700 families in south-eastern Manicaland affected by the devastating tropical storm that left over 400 people dead and tens of thousands displaced will benefit from a fresh donation of US$600 000 made by the US government.
Cyclone Idai hit parts of Manicaland in March, devastating communities and sweeping away whole villages.
The storm also killed over a thousand people in neighbouring Mozambique and Malawi to the north-east.
In a statement, the US embassy in Harare said the contribution, provided through USAid will assist the smallholder farmers in Chimanimani district recover and rebuild their lives.
“The United States government has provided an additional US$600,000 to assist approximately 1,700 smallholder farmers in Chimanimani district to recover and rebuild their lives following Cyclone Idai. The USAid will provide funds to its local partner, LEAD Trust, to spearhead these recovery efforts over the next 12 months,” read the statement in part.
According to the statement, the programme will also help the farmers grow high value crops, cereals, and pulses, as well as improve nutrition and hygiene. As part of these efforts, USAid will provide smallholder farmers with 138,000kg of locally procured seed and 305,000 kg of fertiliser.
US ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols said his country will continue to assist the people of Zimbabwe.
“The United States continues to stand with the people of Zimbabwe. The funding towards recovery efforts from USAid will help communities in Chimanimani district rebuild their lives following the tragedy of Cyclone Idai. This contribution will help communities meet their short and long term food security needs and assist them on their journey to self-reliance,” Nichols said.
This additional contribution towards relief efforts in the district brings to US$3.2 million the American government’s commitment to the area since the disaster in March this year.
“USAid continues to support the immediate food needs of approximately 133,000 individuals in the most affected areas, providing 2,000 metric tons of sorghum, vegetable oil, and fortified cereals. In addition, USAid supported a two month activity that provided water, sanitation, hygiene, and shelter to 36,400 individuals in cyclone-affected areas of Manicaland Province,” the statement added.
Despite frosty relations between the two countries over human rights issues and sanctions imposed by the western power, Nichols said the US continues to work with the government of Zimbabwe in many areas benefiting locals.