Government has today started dispatching 48,000 metric tonnes (MT) of relief food to Malawi and Zimbabwe as part of the U$D2.4 billion Southern African Development Community (SADC) humanitarian appeal for ‘hunger stricken’ countries.
Officially flagging off the GRZ/WFP Humanitarian Relief SADC Operation at the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) depot in Lusaka today, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) National Co-ordinator Patrick Kangwa said Zambia being part of the global community is mandated to render support to its neighbouring countries that are in need.
Mr. Kangwa disclosed President Edgar Lungu has allowed the exportation of maize as part of Zambia’s contribution to the affected countries.
He said government has put in place the Humanitarian Logistic Committee to resolve operations that impede the movement of maize into and out of Zambia.
“Government of Zambia shall continue to assist in any way possible to mitigate the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in the region affected by dry spells and drought,” said Kangwa.
ZANIS reports that the DMMU National Co-ordinator assured that government has got enough maize stocks for local consumption and has since advised the public not to panic.
He commended the international donors and cooperating partners for partnering with government in rendering support to Malawi and Zimbabwe.
And speaking at the same occasion, United Nations World Food Programme Country Director Simon Cammelbeeck disclosed that the agency was spending US$250,000 to transport one-tonne of the grain.
Mr. Cammelbeeck further disclosed that US, Sweden, Netherlands and the Internal Monetary Fund (IMF0 are among the donors that have rendered support the SADC humanitarian appeal.
He said his organization and government has engaged Transporters association of Zimbabwe as well as J and J to haul the maize from Zambia.
An estimated 40 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Southern Africa among them neighbouring Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
SADC has developed a regional transportation plan whose major goal is to streamline and facilitate the processing of relief consignments meant for countries within the region.
The humanitarian assistance has been brought about due to severe el-nino induced worst drought and prolonged dry spell affecting the SADC region in 35 years.