Hastings Kapesa hands over the cheque to ZBS Director Nsitira
* We are in solidarity with the President that indeed let’s all unite in this period of tragedy
* Reunion Insurance has partnered with various organisations of goodwill in development projects of this nature
* As President Chakwera said through the Tigwirane Manja campaign, let us all work in solidarity—Kazako
By Duncan Mlanjira
Soon after flash floods due to Cyclone Freddy devastated the Southern Region that left thousands of people homeless, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) rolled out a relief response initiative by reaching out to survivors with relief food and non-food items — while appealing to other wellwishers, organisations and corporate companies to join it.
On Wednesday, Reunion Insurance Plc invested K5 million towards the noble cause, while applauding ZBS for volunteering to be the conveyance of the relief package.
At the handover of the cheque, Reunion Insurance’s technical manager on claims & business development, Hastings Kapesa emphasized that they just had to get involved taking cognizance that the survivors are going through a traumatic period as well as responding to the appeal from President Lazarus Chakwera, through what the Malawi leader termed as ‘Tigwirane Manja’ campaign (let’s hold our hands in solidarity to assist with whatever we all have).
“We are in solidarity with the President that indeed let’s all unite in this period of tragedy, which many lives were lost, people lost their homes and valuable and sadly children lost their parents while others are hospitalised with various degrees of injuries.
“It should also be noted that Reunion Insurance has partnered with various organisations of goodwill in development projects of this nature and when we received an appeal from a fellow Malawian company, Zodiak Broadcasting Station, we found it imperative to join the outpouring response being done by the rest of the private sector and other wellwishers.
“As a media house, ZBS knows the importance of reaching out to the vulnerable and what is admirable is that they extended their role as media practitioners to wear a different hat of being benefactors.”
Kapesa also acknowledged the role ZBS plays in encouraging girl child’s academic aspirations through the annual awards the media house the media house gives to best performing secondary school girls in Malawi Schools Certificate of Education (MSCE) — which started in 2007.
In her vote of thanks, ZBS’s Director said Beatrice Nsitira applauded Reunion Insurance for trusting in them to distribute the relief package to the survivors and pledged total accountability for every tambala.
Meanwhile, ZBS’s founder and Managing Director, Gospel Kazako also made a personal contribution on the same day of two cows to two evacuation camps in Machinjiri — a neighbourhood he grew up in and has deep memories of.
He made the donation after visiting the camps to appreciate the challenges they face and noticed that, while the survivors were provided with various food items, they only had soya pieces and dried fish (matemba) for their food relish.
Thus he decided to make the personal contribution — also in line with what President Chakwera is advocating through the Tigwirane Manja campaign.
At Mthawira Parish where its priest, Father Elizeo Nthalika offered its hall as an evacuation camp after community leaders approached him, Kazako was informed that out of 243 survivors there, 144 were children, which he described as a huge concern.
“As President Chakwera said through the Tigwirane Manja campaign, let us all work in solidarity towards alleviating the suffering these people are going through.
“I have visited several camps in the Southern Region and its really sad to witness the trauma the survivors are going through and the change of environment children have to endure.
“Let us all donate whatever little we have — it doesn’t have to be in millions, it could be a packet of sugar or salt or clothes we are not using but are in perfect condition.
“And while you are thinking of what to donate, you may also consider the children in the camps, that they need some toys to play with in order to create a friendly atmosphere for them.”
In comforting and cheering the survivors, Kazako acknowledged that the disaster that has hit Machinjiri is the first of its kind having grown up in the area.
“On my assessment visit to areas most hit, I was appalled by the devastation that Cyclone Freddy has caused — lives were lost, houses, roads, bridges and houses washed away. We had to walk all the way to Mthawira Parish because even our big car, [an off-road Toyota Land-cruiser] got stuck in mud.
“The government and all wellwishers will keep you in mind and we will continue helping with the little we can afford,” he said, while promising to keep visiting the survivors to assess other challenges they will be facing.
In a related development, Zimbabwe government’s Cabinet has approved immediate commencement of mobilization of relief assistance that include maize flour (10,000 metric tonnes), cooking oil, blankets, clothing, construction material for cabins, sanitizers, detergents, soaps, stationery and other learning materials.
A report on the country Ministry of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting website, described this as ‘Zimbabwe disaster assistance plan for Malawi’ and added that “to widen the scope of donations, the government is encouraging the private sector, national institutions and citizens to donate generously for this cause”.
In its report made on Tuesday, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), the death toll rose from 499 to 507 with 1,332 injuries and the number of reported missing persons was at 537 from 427.
The number of displaced people is at 553,614 with 543 camps set to accommodate the displaced.
It was reported that the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), in liaising with military personnel from the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Zambia are continuing with airlifting relief items, medical supplies, and personnel to places not accessible by road.
The helicopters were dispatched by Tanzania and Zambia while Mozambique donated jet fuel.
DoDMA continue to remind the public, development partners and all stakeholders that affected people in clusters (sector working groups), require various relief items such as:
* Shelter (tarpaulin (4x6m), family tents/big tents; plastic sheet (120 micron), blankets, sleeping mats);
* Protection (clothes, lighting lamps, dignity kits);
* Heath (mosquito nets, mobile clinic services;
* Non-food items (plates, cups, pots);
* WASH (mobile toilets, water treatment chemicals, soap, buckets);
* Food & nutrition (maize/maize flour); corn soya blend, ready to use therapeutic food, cooking oil, pulses (beans, peas etc), soya pieces dry fish/kapenta, sugar, salt).