Talent Gore, H-Metro Reporter
THE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has airlifted supplies for refugees affected by Cyclone Idai to Chimanimani.
The consignment, which arrived at Robert Mugabe International Airport, follows on the first consignment of emergency relief earmarked for Zimbabweans, which arrived on March 31.
UNHCR Country representative Robert Tibagwa said supplies from the first consignment have been distributed in Chipinge and will reach Chimanimani next week.
“The airlift which arrived at Robert G. Mugabe International Airport includes blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, mosquito nets, solar lamps, sanitary pads and soap destined for Tongogara refugee camp, where 1200 families had their homes destroyed or severely damaged by the cyclone.
“Zimbabwe has been a generous host to refugees for many years and we are grateful for our continued close collaboration.
“When the Cyclone hit we knew we needed to stand with Zimbabwe and help all people affected by this disaster, this second airlift will provide much needed aid to our refugees in Tongogara and help them on the road to recovery,” Tibagwa said.
Zimbabwe hosts over 20 000 refugees and asylum-seekers mainly in Tongogara Refugee Camp.
Tibagwa said Cyclone Idai has destroyed a number of homes in the refugee camp, water and sanitary system were severely affected leading to a shortage of clean drinking water.
“UNHCR is prioritising the repair of this system and the construction of stronger homes for refugees in the camp so they can withstand such storms in the future.
“Vulnerable people, including women and children, are at risk and in need of relief and recovery support, about 95 per cent of the infrastructure, including schools, roads and bridges have been damaged in Chimanimani district,” he said.
Tibagwa added: “UNHCR has also deployed a team of emergency response experts to support relief efforts.
“UNHCR is part of the humanitarian team working in close collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe and other humanitarian partners to ensure people receive the required assistance and are protected from risks and dangers.
“We are grateful to its corporate partner International Humanitarian City (IHC) which has donated the aid flight.”