UN Refugee Agency rachets up relief airlift for Cyclone Idai

THE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) airlifted supplies for refugees affected by Cyclone Idai. The consignment, which arrived yesterday at Robert Mugabe International Airport yesterday evening, follows on the first consignment of emergency relief earmarked for Zimbabweans, which arrived on March 31. The supplies from the first consignment have been distributed in Chipinge and will reach Chimanimani next week.

The airlift, which arrived at Robert G. Mugabe International Airport, includes blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, mosquito nets, solar lamps, sanitary pads and soap destined for Tongogara refugee camp, where 1200 families had their homes destroyed or severely damaged by the cyclone.

“Zimbabwe has been a generous host to refugees for many years and we are grateful for our continued close collaboration,” said UNHCR Country Representative Robert Tibagwa. “When the Cyclone hit we knew we needed to stand with Zimbabwe and help all people affected by this disaster. This second airlift will provide much needed aid to our refugees in Tongogara and help them on the road to recovery.”

Zimbabwe hosts over 20,000 refugees and asylum-seekers mainly in Tongogara Refugee Camp. Cyclone Idai has destroyed a number of homes in the refugee camp, water and sanitary system were severely affected leading to a shortage of clean drinking water. UNHCR is prioritising the repair of this system and the construction of stronger homes for refugees in the camp so they can withstand such storms in the future.

Vulnerable people, including women and children, are at risk and in need of relief and recovery support. About 95 per cent of the infrastructure, including schools, roads and bridges have been damaged in Chimanimani district.

UNHCR is part of the humanitarian team working in close collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe and other humanitarian partners to ensure people receive the required assistance and are protected from risks and dangers. UNHCR has also deployed a team of emergency response experts to support relief efforts.

UNHCR is grateful to its corporate partner International Humanitarian City (IHC) which has donated the aid flight.

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