Felex Share Senior Reporter
China is leading the rehabilitation and recovery programme in areas that were ravaged by Cyclone Idai with the Asian giant tasking six Chinese companies operating locally to undertake the repair of roads and power infrastructure, drill boreholes, build houses and communication networks.
This follows Chinese Deputy Ambassador Mr Zhao Baogang’s offer during a tour of Chimanimani soon after Cyclone Idai ravaged the area in March that his government would assist Zimbabwe rebuild damaged infrastructure in the area where most roads, bridges, schools and clinics were destroyed.
Mr Zhao said China had funds under the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which the country could utilise.
“We will be very willing to join you in the reconstruction of the region in Chimanimani. Houses, clinics, schools were destroyed and we can rebuild them, we can work together. The defence minister can write to us and make a request under the framework of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation. Last year we had a successful summit and $60 billion was provided towards cooperation between China and African countries, including Zimbabwe,” he said.
This comes as local private companies have responded positively to President Mnangagwa’s appeal for assistance in the reconstruction efforts by adopting 42 schools.
The Head of State and Government made the appeal when he recently met captains of industry.
Government needs about US$612 million to restore social services in Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo following the Cyclone Idai disaster that left more than 345 people dead.
Briefing journalists after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the Chinese — who availed US$800 000 emergency humanitarian assistance when the cyclone struck — were playing a pivotal role in the affected areas.
“Government is particularly grateful to the People’s Republic of China, which has tasked six Chinese companies operating locally to undertake the repair of roads, drill boreholes, rehabilitate power infrastructure, provide mobile hospitals, build houses and communication networks in the cyclone-affected areas,” she said.
“The companies will utilise their own financial resources and be reimbursed by the Chinese government. Work on the rehabilitation of damaged irrigation infrastructure and water supply stations is progressing well, while farmers with damaged tobacco barns are to be assisted to rehabilitate the facilities through the provision of concessionary loans. Following the appeal by His Excellency the President, Cde ED Mnangagwa private companies have adopted 42 additional unfunded schools and have started the mobilisation of resources and procurement of materials. Pertaining to road rehabilitation, Government, through the Department of Roads, has contracted private companies to carry out reconstruction of the affected bridges and roads.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said 1 654 internally displaced people were sheltered and receiving relief assistance at seven holding centres in Chimanimani and Chipinge.
“A total of 42 602 people comprising special groups, namely, children, the elderly and the disabled have so far been given relief assistance,’ she said.
“Sixty-six out of a target of 236 volunteer counsellors on trauma care have gone through training and have been deployed to the severely affected wards in Chimanimani District. Regarding the rehabilitation of schools and infrastructure, focus is now on the construction and repair of ablution facilities. Excavations for the construction of ablution facilities have been completed at nine schools, while significant quantities of building materials have already been moved to strategic sites.”
She added: “So far 339 080 people in the Chimanimani and Chipinge areas have been covered under the oral cholera vaccination campaign, constituting 71,6 percent of the intended target. Spatial planning works are continuing at Nhedziwa Growth Point, Lindley Farm and Green Mount in Chimanimani Urban as well as Ward 8 of Nyanyadzi in Chimanimani.
“The UNHCR has made a commitment to fund the replacement of documents for people affected by the cyclone. Once again, Cabinet wishes to thank all Zimbabweans and our international partners for their continuing support to victims of the Cyclone Idai Disaster and the ongoing recovery effort.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando briefed Cabinet on the International Chromium Development Conference to be hosted by Zimbabwe on May 28.
The conference will be held under the auspices of the International Chromium Development Association (ICDA).
“The conference, which is due to be held at the Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls Town will attract more than 200 international delegates from mining and related sectors,” Minister Mutsvangwa said the decision by the International Chromium Development Association for Zimbabwe to host this prestigious Conference underscores Zimbabwe’s rising importance in the chromium industry.
“The event will provide a great opportunity for promotion of the country’s rich mineral resource endowment thereby attracting investment inflows into this very important sector.”