China through the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) on Friday pledged an additional support of 2 million U.S. dollars in humanitarian assistance for the people affected by tropical Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe.
The grant, which is being implemented under the just launched Post Disaster Restoration Assistance through UNDP and its partners will provide roofing materials to community housing and selected health and education facilities that were damaged by Cyclone Idai in eastern Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani and Chipinge districts last March.
Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to hit southern Africa. The storm caused catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, leaving more than 1,300 people dead, and many more missing.
In Zimbabwe, the cyclone killed at least 185 people and left 270,000 people in urgent need of humanitarian aid, according to the World Food Program.
The recovery program, which will be implemented over a 12-month period, is funded by the Chinese government under the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF) which aims to support developing countries’ implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Speaking at the official launch of the project on Post Disaster Recovery Assistance After Cyclone Idai, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said through the SSCAF that China remains committed to assisting the victims of Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe.
“As a responsible member of international society and the all-weather friend of Zimbabwe, China has been doing its best to provide all kinds of assistance to Zimbabwe. After the Cyclone Idai, the Chinese government immediately provided emergency humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe through bilateral and multilateral channels, and was committed to helping the affected areas to restore infrastructure facility and basic living conditions,” Guo said.
He said the Chinese government and the UNDP have been maintaining cooperation and coordination in Zimbabwe and the other parts of the world, adding that cooperation on the reconstruction project will make its implementation more efficient.
“In addition to the project signed today, in the meantime, with cooperation with WFP, UNICEF and UN Population Fund, another four projects funded by China are being implemented in Zimbabwe on humanitarian assistance, food security, health and wellness, and poverty alleviation,” he said.
Guo said multilateral cooperation has become an important pattern in China’s assistance to Zimbabwe and the other developing countries.
“We are looking forward to working more closely with the Zimbabwean government, the UNDP and other international partners, to bring more benefits to the people of Zimbabwe, and to build an even stronger China-Zimbabwe community with a shared future,” Guo said.
Speaking at the same event, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, July Moyo expressed his profound gratitude to China and all the partners involved in assisting Zimbabwe in its post-disaster recovery efforts.
“The funding came at an opportune time in which we are dealing with the residual effects of Cyclone Idai. The intervention by the People’s Republic of China through the UNDP has made it possible for the government of Zimbabwe to move from emergency relief to recovery,” Moyo said.
Moyo said through the assistance, the Zimbabwean government has made a lot of strides in restoring normalcy in Chimanimani and Chipinge as well as the other seven districts that were affected by the natural disaster.
Speaking at the same occasion, UNDP Resident Representative Georges van Montfort expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for supporting UNDP’s resources mobilization efforts, saying that “I am particularly pleased, not only that we can help assist vulnerable communities in their recovery efforts, but also as this is our first engagement with the People’s Republic of China in Zimbabwe and I thank the Ambassador for his confidence in the UNDP and this contribution to Zimbabwe.
“The project we are officially launching today arises from the need to address the impact of the Cyclone Idai to homes and community public infrastructure in the affected communities and is in line with the Cyclone Idai Appeal that identified reconstruction of critical infrastructure such as housing, schools and clinics as a priority,” he said.