UK Govt Funds Zim Coronavirus Fight
THE British Government has announced a US$43,6 million aid package for Covid-19 medical supplies to Zimbabwe, becoming the biggest contributor to the pandemic response in the country, as diplomatic ties between the two countries continue to improve.
British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson confirmed the development yesterday, saying the package covered infection prevention and control efforts, broadcast messaging, child support, psycho-social support for front-line workers and humanitarian aid to help the poorest and most vulnerable across the country.
“We have announced nearly US$44 million aid, which makes us the biggest contributor to the Covid-19 response here in Zimbabwe,” she said.
“This shows how important the relationship between the British and Zimbabwean people is.”
In Zimbabwe, Ambassador Robinson said, the Department for International Development (DFID) was partnering the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Food Programme (WFP) in the humanitarian effort.
“Through our humanitarian programme, we are currently supporting 570 000 beneficiaries throughout Zimbabwe and will continue to provide emergency humanitarian aid and cash transfers to the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the country,” she said.
“We are ensuring the safety of our beneficiaries by increasing distribution points in order to minimise large gatherings and adhering to good hygienic practices and social distancing rules.
“We are working with our partners to rapidly reorganise and scale-up our UK aid programmes to support the Covid-19 response in Zimbabwe and urge others to do so as well.”
The priority was to reach the most vulnerable communities and those most in need and to also reduce the risk and impact of Covid-19.
DFID Zimbabwe head, Ms Cate Turton also said: “I would like to extend a huge thanks to our partners and especially frontline humanitarian workers who continue to deliver despite facing many challenges. We urge all actors to abide by the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and urgently looking at what further support we could provide through our partners on the ground.”
The UK was committed to fighting Covid-19 across the world and has so far pledged £744 million to support vaccine and treatments research, protecting fragile economies and helping organisations such as WHO and Unicef to slow the spread of the disease.
In a related development, the British Embassy is in regular contact with up to 200 British passport holders who are ordinarily resident in the UK, but for now have decided to remain in Zimbabwe.
They include dual nationals.
On Saturday, 10 Britons, who were in Zimbabwe on private business were evacuated to Britain.
In a related development, the European Union recently donated US$41,5 million through the Health Development Fund, which is jointly managed by Unicef and the United Nations Population Fund after an initial US$4 million donation to fight Covid-19.
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