Six ambassadors and high commissioners yesterday took off time from their demanding schedules to cheer flood victims in Nsanje, Chikwawa and Phalombe where they also appreciated their harsh conditions.
The envoys, accompanied by Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi and other government officials, toured some affected areas such as Bangula Admarc and Phaloni camps in Nsanje and Phalombe, respectively.
The visits were organised by the South African High Commission to Malawi for the diplomats to appreciate the extent of the floods damage and the anguish the people in camps are going through.
They came hours after the South African High Commissioner Thenjiwe Mtintso handed over to Malawi a consignment of assorted humanitarian aid comprising medical supplies, foodstuffs, blankets and clothing.
The items, donated by South African people, were delivered by a South African military plane yesterday at Chileka. South African government already sent a delegation of medical personnel to help the victims.
Besides South Africa, other countries represented included Germany, United States of America (USA), Norway, Zambia and Japan. There were also United Nations and DfID representatives.
Speaking after visiting Bangula Admarc Camp, Mtintso urged other countries to help the flood victims, saying the need to do so was “very huge.”
“The South African government is helping but it is temporarily and it’s very hard. Efforts must be put together because it cannot be covered by one government,” she said.
The High Commissioner said what the South African community had shown by donating to Malawian friends was solidarity because “we always say whatever happens to one African affects all of us.”
She said her office mobilised the diplomats because most of them, despite their countries’ help, had not experienced first hand the extent of the damage and extent of help needed.
“This is not about Malawi, it is about Africa. So it is crucial for fellow African countries to put our efforts together. Malawi has its challenges already and adding the floods to those challenges is something that we, as Africans, must stand up and help,” said Mtintso.
US Ambassador Virginia Palmer said she was impressed with government’s response to the disaster, adding it was important that all partners work together towards helping the people.
Palmer, who is also dean of the diplomatic corps, revealed that her country would help towards the recovery of the people with $4.2 million (about K3.7 billion).
Dausi commended South Africa, through its National Defence Force, for helping people in the camps.