Zimbabwe set to get US$16,4m EU aid

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ZIMBABWE is set to access US$16,4 million from the additional US$74,7 million the European Union (EU) has availed in humanitarian aid to southern African countries to support vulnerable people affected by recurrent droughts and the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
From the additional funding, Botswana would get US$2,2 million, Malawi US$8,2 million, Mozambique US$16,8 million, Zambia US$5,7 million and Madagascar US$8,4 million.

“The EU is helping to provide life-saving assistance to impoverished households suffering from crop and livestock losses due to drought. The aid package will also strengthen the preparation and response to the coronavirus pandemic for countries in the region.

“In parallel, the EU is helping communities better prepare for natural hazards and reduce their impact,” EU commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarčič said yesterday.

Lenarčič added the funding would target food assistance to vulnerable households and farmers in drought affected areas to restore their means of subsistence, Covid-19 prevention and preparedness actions to support local health systems and facilitate access to healthcare, protective equipment, sanitation and hygiene.

It would also give support to children’s education and provide training to teaching staff and disaster preparedness projects that cover new needs brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The humanitarian aid assistance announced today (yesterday) comes on top of the more than €67 million (US$77,4 million) allocated to the region in 2019 following the impact of the two cyclones, drought, and the economic and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.

“The southern African region has had just one normal rainy season in the last five years with the last quarter of 2019 being one of the 10 driest since 1981 for most areas, causing large-scale livestock losses and damaging harvests.

“In many places, the current growing season is exceptionally hot and dry, while in several other parts of the region, erratic rains risk undermining harvests in 2020. In some countries, this burden comes on top of already-crippling economic woes. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to compound already significant humanitarian needs in the region,” Lenarčič said.

Recently, the EU availed an additional US$7,5 million to step up Zimbabwe’s response to the lethal Covid-19 pandemic.

EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen said the additional support would contribute to the supply of essential commodities, including personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostic tests and the training of all frontline and community health workers on infection prevention and case management.

He added that as part of the preventive measures, the grant would assist in developing innovative communication tools to maintain a high level of alert in the country and contribute to a better coordination among all partners supporting the health sector with the guidance of the Health and Child Care ministry

“A global health threat needs a global response with timely and coordinated measures and solidarity. In view of the current rising epicurve which shows daily new Covid-19 positive cases, this timely support is appropriate to improving ongoing activities, which are part of an urgent response to shared priorities.

“The EU will continue supporting the people of Zimbabwe, monitoring the work of our trusted partner Unicef to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable are met. We trust this will contribute to mitigate at medium terms, part of the triple crisis of socio-economic challenges, drought and Covid-19 that Zimbabwe is currently facing,” Olkkonen said.

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