PRETORIA – The Zimbabwe embassy in Pretoria has established a task-force led by Deputy Ambassador Mietani Chauke to coordinate ongoing efforts across South Africa to raise assistance for victims of the catastrophic Cyclone Idai which has swept parts of southern Africa, killing hundreds of people in three countries.
On Friday, in an interview with African News Agency (ANA) in Pretoria, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador David Hamadziripi acknowledged the massive ongoing campaigns by the South African public, civil society organisations, Zimbabweans based in South Africa, religious organisations and the South African government to raise assistance for the affected people.
“We are very much encouraged by the response that we have received, and the reaction that Zimbabweans here in South Africa, and in other countries have shown to this disaster. We have seen voluntary mobilisation that has taken place, very impressive, and unprecedented. As the embassy, we have now taken leadership in some of those efforts in coordinating the provision of the relief support,” said Hamadziripi.
“As the embassy in Pretoria, we have established a team that is led by the deputy Ambassador [Chauke] and we are working in close collaboration with a number of Zimbabweans in the diaspora in mobilising this support. We have set up similar structures at our consulates in Cape Town and in Johannesburg in a bid to ensure that this support is well coordinated and is delivered to those in need.”
Hamadziripi said the current need in the affected areas of Zimbabwe was for food, safe water, blankets, shelter, clothing, medicine and medical personnel. Volunteers are also needed in Zimbabwe.
Amidst the loss of life and destruction to infrastructure, Hamadziripi emphasised that he believes the catastrophic Cyclone Idai which has plunged Zimbabwe into mourning, is not a period of hopelessness, but an opportunity to rebuild the nation, picking up the pieces for better future prospects of the small southern African nation.
He said unfortunately, Zimbabwe has been left with an unplanned additional burden to rebuild — adding to the revitalisation campaigns initiated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he took office in 2017.