Gaborone — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi Sunday joined the Anglican Holy Cross Cathedral to pray for cyclone Idai victims in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the prayer session, Dr Masisi said he would seek cabinet permission to utilise most of the international disaster funds in assisting cyclone victims in the three countries.
Batswana and government, he said, were deeply touched and would continue assisting those affected.
Dr Masisi noted that the 2019/2020 budget proposals had been approved which meant funds were officially available.
He expressed sadness for the lives lost, destruction of infrastructure and the psychological scars the cyclone had left on citizens of the three countries.
He applauded the Christian community, especially the Anglican Church, for leading prayers for the affected and appealed to Batswana and others residing in Botswana to extend a hand of charity.
For his part, the church's dean, Dr Celestino Chishimba said there was need to reassure the nations of the three countries that Batswana were with them in prayer.
He said in times of disaster, it was important to encourage the affected to look to God for spiritual guidance.
Meanwhile, Mozambique high commissioner to Botswana Mr Domingos Fernandes said the cyclone left 500 people dead and thousands without shelter, food and clothes.
He said even then, the people of Mozambique felt they were not alone due to the support and prayers provided by Batswana.
Mr Fernandes said the affected needed urgent assistance in all forms including prayers.
He thanked Batswana on behalf of President Filipe Nyusi.
Speaking at the same occasion, a Zimbabwe Embassy representative Ms Margaret Ruparanganda expressed gratitude to Botswana government and the nation for the love and solidarity they had demonstrated.
She said those affected would also find comfort in God during these trying times.
Ms Ruparanganda also thanked President Dr Masisi on behalf of President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.
Chairperson of the Malawi Association in Botswana, Mr Jones Likoswe said schools in the country were hardest hit by the cyclone.
He added that people had lost lives, shelter, property and clothes therefore needed support and assistance.
Mr Likoswe thanked President Masisi and the nation of Botswana at large on behalf of Malawi president Mr Peter Mutharika for the assistance extended.
The Anglican Church also prayed for President Masisi's welfare, safety and wisdom to lead the nation.
Source : BOPA