By Staff Reporter
THE government of Switzerland has disbursed US$2 million towards efforts aimed at alleviating the plight of thousands of Cyclone Idai survivors who lost homes, property and forms of livelihood in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique in the past two weeks.
The worst weather induced calamity to hit the region caused nearly 700 deaths in the three neighbours with hundreds still unaccounted for.
Switzerland, through the Swiss Humanitarian Aid, has released the money, joining an overwhelming world response to the tragedy.
According to an embassy statement, the funding will be used to restore safe drinking water and provide Swiss experts to UN agencies in the three affected countries.
“Out of the aid package, US$ 1 million will be used for Swiss Humanitarian Aid’s actions and the other half will be disbursed to various UN agencies responding to the effects of the disaster,” read the statement.
“So far, twelve tonnes of relief goods have already been shipped to the affected areas with the first team that responded to the disaster. The supplies consisted mainly of materials and tools for building shelter.
“A new consignment to the region will primarily consist of materials and equipment for restoring drinking water supplies, e.g. for cleaning wells.”
Ambassador of Switzerland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, Niculin Jaeger said: “In the aftermath of the cyclone, we have come to terms with the scope and complexity of the challenges facing the governments and peoples of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.
“Moving forward, Switzerland has made available funding totalling US$2 million and a team of technical experts to the most affected areas.
“The team consists mainly of water experts and logisticians from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit and will reinforce the team of experts who have been working in Mozambique since 18 March.”
Ambassador Jaeger added, “Switzerland will continue to work with UN partners such as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, World Food Programme, UNICEF and the International Organisation for Migration to address the immediate and life-saving needs of the most affected communities, particularly relating to the provision of badly needed shelter assistance and provision of clean water.
“Furthermore, the Swiss Red Cross and organisations such as Solidar Suisse are working in close cooperation with the authorities on the ground and have started fundraising for the disaster.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government declared Cyclone Idai a State of Disaster, paving way for a concerted local and international effort to mobilise funds and resources to restore the lives of the affected.