Friday, April 5, 2019

US avails additional US$2.5 million Cyclone Relief as ED scoffs at Bond and RTGS money

THE United States government has availed an additional US$2.5 million emergency relief to cater for the needs of survivors of the recent Cyclone Idai which killed over 300 people mostly in Manicaland.
The contribution was made through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Food for Peace.
It will be channelled towards immediate food needs in the most affected areas of Manicaland Province.
USAID will work through the World Food Program (WFP) to provide immediate food assistance to approximately 133 000 individuals affected by the cyclone in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.
The contribution includes more than 2 000 metric tonnes of US in-kind sorghum, vegetable oil, and fortified cereals that were prepositioned from USAID’s warehouse in Durban, South Africa.
“The United States stands with the people of Zimbabwe during this devastating time,” US ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols said.
“The humanitarian assistance from USAID will save lives and alleviate suffering as people rebuild following the tragedy of Cyclone Idai.”
The US has provided nearly US$10 million in humanitarian assistance to Cyclone survivors in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The three neighbours were affected by the hostile weather phenomenon.
This includes $US100 000 for GOAL Zimbabwe to support water, sanitation, hygiene, and shelter needs for 36 400 individuals in Manicaland.
“This timely contribution from USAID is key in meeting the immediate food needs of the people who are still battling to recover from the catastrophic impact of Cyclone Idai, and support early recovery efforts as they start to rebuild their lives,” WFP Country Director Eddie Rowe said.
In Zimbabwe, Cyclone Idai caused more than 300 deaths, according to President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday, while an estimated 270 000 people are in need of forms of assistance.
The US government is working in partnership with other donor governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, local relief groups and others to provide timely emergency relief to those impacted by the cyclone.
Mnangwangwa mocked the local RTGS currency saying it was not real currency as compared to the United States dollar. Mnangagwa made the comparison while thanking United States President Donald Trump for availing US$2, 5 million to Zimbabwe to assist survivors of the disaster.
The Zanu PF leader, who is under US imposed sanctions, said the donation “came as a surprise”.
“I received three letters of condolences from the Royal Family. I was so excited about this development but what excited me most was about Trump.
“Do you know Trump? President from which country?…America. Eheeee. He imposed sanctions on us, yesterday he sent his ambassador with US$2, 5 million eheeeeeee…US$2, 5 million from their country! Not maRTGS aaaah.No, I mean the real hard currency from their country (chaiyo chaiyo),” Mnangagwa said sarcastically, drawing laughter from the crowd.
He added, “Hey things do change. Kuipa kwezvimwe kunaka kwezvimwe (life brings both good and bad).”
Mnangagwa said in addition, the US has also offered material support to his government.
“They gave us US$2, 5 million but they told us that they can give us additional support through their station in South Africa. The ball is now in our court. Our only task now is just to come up with a list of our needs,” he said.
RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) is originally an electronic money transfer system which was introduced by authorities following acute cash shortages in the country.
When central bank governor John Mangudya delivered his monetary policy statement recently, he classified it, together with bond notes, as RTGS.
Zimbabweans businesses are resentful of the currency whose value keeps fluctuating.
In his comments Thursday, Mnangagwa said that he was impressed that the royal family wrote four letters to him paying their condolences following the Cyclone disaster.
“You know one thing, our relationship with the British turned sour over the land reform programme. Let me tell you what happened. This Cyclone kunoti zvimwe zvinoipa zvimwe zvichinaka (when some situations go bad, some turn positive).
“Queen Elizabeth herself sat down and wrote a letter to Zimbabwe, saying she had heard about Cyclone and how can she render assistance.
“Her child, Prince Charles who will take over from her, the late Princess Diana’s husband, the one who came and took over the Union Jack flag on our independence day also wrote his letter and we received it.
“Even Prince William and his wife also wrote a letter to us. Three letters came from the Royal family and that has never happened in a long time to receive such letters from the Royal family paying condolences to Zimbabwe.
“I said to myself “uuh zvinhu izvi (this occurrence). The letter also mentioned that the relationship between Zimbabwe and Britain should be strengthened.
“I was happy to receive such letters,” said the President.”