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China donates $1m disaster support

DONE DEAL—Hongyang and Schwenk sign the agreement—Picture by Emmanuel Simpokolwe

The Chinese Government on Wednesday provided $1 million to United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) to help families recovering from the effects of the March 2019 floods in Malawi.

This donation includes funds for water treatment chemicals, nutrition therapeutic treatment supplies, iron and folic acid supplementary tablets for adolescent girls, child protection services and procurement of school supplies, recreation materials and early childhood and development kits.

Cyclone Idai affected about 975,000 people in 15 districts and two cities, including 460,000 children. Several water and sanitation facilities were damaged, cutting off access to safe water and latrines.

Flooding destroyed houses and led to loss or damage of school supplies thereby disrupting learning for thousands of children.

The floods also washed away crops, threatening the food security of affected families.

Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Liu Hongyang, said the assistance is within the framework of the South-South Cooperation Fund which provides safe water, emergency sanitation facilities and protection from disaster to families and children affected by Cyclone Idai.

“Our government is happy to help, within its capacity, to address the needs of the affected Malawian families. We have provided $1 million to bring safe water, emergency sanitation and nutrition to children and women who are the worst affected in any disaster,” Hongyang said.

The Post Disaster Needs Assessment report on the March 2019 Cyclone Idai-induced floods indicated that Malawi needs about $375 million for recovery and reconstruction.

Deputy Director of Disaster Response and Recovery in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, Dyce Nkhoma, said the provision of the $1 million for recovery interventions was a step towards the right direction.

“As a Malawi government agency responsible for directing and coordinating the implementation of disaster risk management programmes, we are pleased to note that part of this financial support will be used for procuring school supplies. Almost 67,347 children’s text books were damaged by the floods and the funds provided will make a great difference in the affected schools.

“As the government, we appreciate both technical and financial support rendered by the government of the People’s Republic of China and organisations under United Nations in implementing disaster risk management programmes,” Nkhoma said.

Unicef and its partners have supported the government of Malawi’s response since March, providing safe water, mobile clinics, psychosocial support for children, school supplies and nutrition therapeutic treatment supplies to affected families and communities.

Unicef Malawi Representative, Rudolf Schwenk, said while families affected by the floods have returned home or relocated to safer areas, there is a need to support the recovery and reconstruction process to avoid creating different forms of vulnerabilities.

“We are delighted with this new partnership with the Chinese Government which will bring an integrated package of life-saving interventions to families and communities affected by the floods,” Schwenk said.

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