HARARE – The hard-pressed Zimbabwe government has revised upwards its floods relief appeal to $188 million from $100 million, as the situation of affected victims gets direr.
While acting mpresident Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday made a plea for the extra $88 million, it was not immediately clear how much has been mobilised so far, though United Nations (UN) agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been assisting.
The floods, worsened by Cyclone Dineo, have destroyed at least five bridges and crops while thousands have been left homeless.
Among the areas worst affected by the floods are Tsholotsho, Lupane, Binga, Umguza, Beitbridge, Gokwe, Chivi, Mwenezi, Kariba, Hurungwe, Mutasa, Chipinge, Guruve, Chitungwiza, Epworth and Mabvuku.
The floods have so far claimed 246 lives while hundreds have been injured.
Mphoko said government has come up with a structure that will ensure the assistance will get to the intended beneficiaries.
“We are very conscious that we are appealing to the international taxpayers and our own taxpayers.
“We are very careful and want whatever monies and good gestures you give to us to be put to good use and that it reaches the affected people,” he said.
“We want to come up with a structure which will also satisfy everybody.
“We have two key ministries namely Local Government which was directly affected and the Finance ministry which receives any type of assistance,” Mphoko said.
“We want everything channelled within that framework. It is important for us and yourselves to ensure that your money is safe.
“Some of you think that we take your money for other things but we want to make sure that the money goes to affected people.”
Mphoko emphasised that the money will be put into a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe account to ensure transparency as to how much is disbursed and used for given relief projects.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the floods experienced and the extent of damage to property was worse than anticipated.
China has so far raised $60 000 towards humanitarian relief, Namibia is sending a shipment of tinned fish while the Japan International Cooperation Agency has donated tents and water purifiers.
By mid-February, 85 percent of the country’s dams were full and spilling with heavy rains being experienced in Masvingo, Bikita and Zaka which recorded over 200 millimetres of rain in 24 hours.