By Duncan Mlanjira
NICO Group has donated MK5 million to Blantyre City Council to help the Council assist thousands of household victims that were affected by the disaster that followed the incessant heavy rains that hit southern Malawi last week.
Making the donation on Tuesday at the City Assembly, NICO Group Managing Director Vizenge Kumwenda, said they were responding to the appeal for assistance which the Mayor of the City Counsellor Wild Ndipo made to the corporate world and other well wishers.
Kumwenda said as a company they were touched that many of the Blantyre residents are going through difficult times as they have lost their houses, property and has greatly affected their various businesses.
“The current report from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) indicates that the death toll from the floods and heavy rains has risen to 45 while over 377 people are nursing injuries and over 90,000 households are affected.
“The affected are mostly in the southern part of our country and Blantyre is among the affected areas. As a financial services Group that focuses on insurance, NICO helps its clients cope when faced with disasters that manifest in various forms.
“Being a responsible and responsive corporate citizen, we therefore felt that it was indeed our duty to respond in the best and fastest way possible to assist those affected by the floods.
“We have been advised that the Council needs assistance mostly in providing temporary shelter, foodstuffs and sanitary facilities to the affected people. We are therefore donating K5 million towards the efforts Blantyre City Council is making to support the flood victims in these areas.
“This is not the first time NICO is making such a donation. Two years ago, when the country again experienced such a disaster, NICO and our partners Sanlam reached out to help.
“As a leading financial services institution, whose history dates back to 1971, NICO’s focus has always gone beyond “business” to look at the challenges our community is facing and intervene with the necessary support and assistance. This is why we could not ignore the need created by the floods.
“On behalf of the entire NICO Group, Iet me take this opportunity to extend our condolences to the bereaved families and to wish those who have been injured a speedy recovery.
“Allow me to acknowledge proactive steps that the Blantyre City Council, led by Your Worship, the Mayor supported by your Chief Executive Officer and his management team, is taking ensuring that those affected by the floods receive timely assistance.
“We hope that our donation as NICO will help to alleviate some of the suffering we are witnessing. I also appeal to fellow corporates and able individuals to come forward and support the affected victims to help them resume their normal lives,” Kumwenda said.
The Mayor said they were saddened that many Blantyre City residents are suffering from serious floods and landslides cause by the heavy rains that led to a great number of people to lose their homes and property.
“Bridges and roads were destroyed or badly damaged. Business and normal life of the people were interuupted. As things are now, the suffering of the people still lingers and many are waiting in a desperate situation for urgent aid and relief.
“The Council is very much concerned about the loss of property, especially homes caused by the natural disaster to not only Blantyre City residents but the entire southern part of our country.
“It is for this reason that I took upon myself to reach out to individuals and corporate residents for assistance. I am very pleased and humbled to say that NICO Holdings has been quick to respond to our appeal.
“As the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed. NICO has always been helping us in many ways and to come at this hour of need, we can only be grateful.
“It is our hope that together we will overcome the difficulties caused by the floods and other natural disasters and havebthe homesteads rebuilt soon,” he said.