The Chinese government has provided US$1 million (about K740 million) to United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) to help Malawian families recovering from the effects of the March 2019 floods in the country.
Schwenk (L) and Liu exchange documents
The financial aid includes funds for water treatment chemicals, nutrition therapeutic treatment supplies, iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementary tablets for adolescent girls, child protection services and procurement of school supplies, recreation materials and Early Childhood and Development kits.
The Chinese Government's assistance to Unicef is within the framework of the South- South Cooperation Fund which provides safe water, emergency sanitation facilities, and protection from disaster to families and children affected by Cyclone Idai.
According to Chinese Ambassador Liu Hongyang, the US$1 million has been donated to bring safe water, emergency sanitation and nutrition to children and women who are the worst affected in any disaster.
"Malawi was badly hit by the floods which caused heavy loss of life and property. The Chinese President His Excellency Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to Malawi's President His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika for the loss of life and devastation caused by the floods. Our Government is happy to help, within its capacity, to address the needs of the affected Malawian families," Liu Hongyang added.
The Chinese Government's support will also improve disease surveillance for better detection, prevention, and containment of emergency health issues associated with the floods and their aftermath in the affected districts.
UNICEF will procure essential and lifesaving medicines to assist in the provision of primary health care to affected families and host communities.
The Post Disaster Needs Assessment report on the March 2019 Cyclone Idai-induced floods indicated that Malawi needs about US$ 375 million for recovery and reconstruction.
In his remarks, Deputy Director of Disaster Response and Recovery, in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, Dyce Nkhoma said the provision of the US$ 1 million for recovery interventions is a step towards the right direction.
"As a Malawi Government agency responsible for directing and coordinating the implementation of disaster risk management programmes, we are pleased to note that part of this financial support will be used for procuring school supplies. Almost 67,347 children's text books were damaged by the floods and the funds provided will make a great difference in the affected schools.
"As Government, we appreciate both technical and financial support rendered by the Government of the People's Republic of China and organizations under United Nations in implementing various disaster risk management programmes," Nkhoma explained.
UNICEF Malawi Representative, Rudolf Schwenk, said while families affected by the floods have returned home or relocated to safer areas, there is need to support the recovery and reconstruction process to avoid creating different forms of vulnerabilities.
"We are delighted with this new partnership with the Chinese government which will bring an integrated package of life-saving interventions to families and communities affected by the floods," said Rudolf Schwenk.
"Building and maintaining strong partnerships is key to improving children's lives. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with the Government of China for the benefit of the children in Malawi," he added.
The March 2019 floods affected about 975,000 people in 15 districts and two cities, including 460,000 children.
Several water and sanitation facilities were damaged, cutting off access to safe water and latrines. Flooding destroyed houses and led to loss or damage of school supplies thereby disrupting learning for thousands of children. The floods also washed away crops, threatening the food security of affected families.