The corporate and diplomatic response to Cyclone Idai has been strong and swift and is on track to surpass all previous relief efforts.
Corporations and diplomats have donated millions in cash, and more millions in products and services, and corporate relief efforts are on track to dwarf or exceed the $50 million put up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Embassies in Harare have largely made cash donations.
The companies’ contributions to Cyclone Idai are in addition to regular corporate philanthropy efforts and social responsibility programmes, and the companies do not plan to reduce any of their ongoing commitments as a result of the outlay for Idai relief.
Company employees have also given clothing items and utensils to villagers displaced by the disaster.
Cyclone Idai ravaged Manicaland, destroying crops and critical infrastructure and flattening villages.
In its wake, United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock yesterday allocated US$20 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to ramp up the humanitarian response to Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
“Vulnerable groups such as children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with disabilities, and those affected by chronic illnesses will be prioritised,” said Lowcock.
The US Embassy in Harare twitted: “The US Embassy is contributing an initial US$100 000 through @USAID to bring relief to victims of #Cycloneidai in Zim. Working with civil society partners to provide safe water, hygiene and sanitation svcs, & shelter to Zimbabweans in need.” Former US president Barrack Obama solicited for emergency funds to help victims of Cyclone Idai, imploring his followers to help by donating to humanitarian organisations currently working in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.
The European Commission announced an initial emergency aid package of €3,5 million (approx. US$3,97 million) to help those affected.
The New Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun yesterday sent a truck carrying relief aid materials worth US$50 000 to the eastern highlands to provide further assistance. Prior to this, the Chinese community in Zimbabwe had gone to Mutare and handed over the relief aid they put together to the ministry of Defence and the ministry of Agriculture worth US$200 000.
Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile phone operator Econet Wireless’s insurance business donated 50 coffins as part of its relief efforts towards victims of Cyclone Idai.
Along with the coffins, EcoSure also gave six tents with a combined capacity to shelter 3 000 people. The company, which earlier this week announced a $5 million donation towards the relief effort, said most of the tents were sheltering supplies at Silverstream relief camp in cyclone-hit Chimanimani.
Diversified financial services powerhouse, FBC Holdings, donated 20 tonnes of groceries worth more than RTGS$60 000 for assisting people affected by Cyclone Idai as part of the group’s corporate social responsibility initiatives and a call to assist victims during this time of a national disaster.
It has also pledged to construct classroom blocks and finance the education of children who lost their parents and guardians due to the tropical cyclone.
State-run mobile phone operator NetOne pledged RTGS$50 000 towards the purchase of key basic food items to feed the affected families.
South Africa’s Standard Bank’s Zimbabwe unit Stanbic also joined the list of well-wishers for Cyclone Idai victims in Chimanimani by purchasing an assortment of goods worth RTGS $ 200 000.
Another RTGS$50 000 has been set aside for other items once other critical needs are established as rescuers continue to access the epicentre of the disaster, which only started yesterday after some roads where cleared of debri.
Zimbabwe’s fast food retail group Innscor Africa raised approximately $250 000 worth of products for those affected by Cyclone Idai.
Innscor’s convoy of eight by 30 tonne vehicles left Harare yesterday afternoon bound for Mutare.
The vehicles were from Baker’s Inn, National Foods and Irvine’s. Innscor donated 100 tonnes of maize-meal, 6 000 loaves of bread, 12 tonnes of salt, 200 duvets and blankets; accommodation tents, two tonnes of canned colcom meat, 2 000 dozen table eggs, 6 tonnes of self-raising flour, 1.5 tonnes of sugar beans, 1 tonne of peanut butter, 1 tonne of jam, 6.5 tonnes of animal feed, 3 000 litres of UHT Long Life Milk, 4 000 kg of Rice, 19 000 litres of soft drinks, 12 tonnes of product hampers (c550 hampers) containing maize-meal, flour, rice cooking oil, salt, sugar beans, sugar, cordial soft drink, candles and soap.
Law firm Dube, Banda, Nzarayapenga and Partners law firm donated food stuffs, sanitary ware and kitchen utensils to victims of the cyclone, worth RTGS$2 000.