BEITBRIDGE. The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) has mobilised volunteers, pre-positioned relief packs and hygiene kits in Beitbridge for the victims of xenophobia attacks who are returning from South Africa.
More than 400 expatriated Zimbabweans have so far received humanitarian assistance in the form of relief packages and telephone services from the ZRCS.
At least 45 Disaster Response Team members have been dispatched from the ZRCS Matebeleland North provincial offices while relief materials worth USD25 000,00 which include food and non-food items such as blankets, shelter kits, buckets and kitchen sets have been mobilised to assist as the repatriated victims of xenophobia arrive in Beitbridge.
ZRCS secretary general Maxwell Phiri said his organisation is working with movement partners.
“Whilst complementing the government’s humanitarian efforts in this intervention, the ZRCS is working in close cooperation with our movement partners, South Africa Red Cross Society (SARCS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) in our response work,” he said.
Phiri said ZRCS is also restoring family links.
“In addition to the emergency relief materials, we are also assisting some of these vulnerable populations in restoring family links as some had been away for a while.
“Families have also been anxious of the fate of their relatives; so ZRCS is offering free telephone service to those who want to communicate with their families upon arrival,” he said.
As part of the Red Cross regional response, in South Africa, the SARCS and ICRC indicate that in Greenwood Park where 475 foreigners are accommodated in a school, at least 61 people, mostly Mozambicans, Zimbabweans and Malawians, benefitted from the Red Cross phone service.
In Kwazulu Natal, the Red Cross has been actively involved at four sites through SARCS for the past two weeks initially looking after over 5000, people providing hot meals in partnership with other relief agencies.
SARCS is also providing psychosocial support through site visits, telephone services in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to connect people to their families in respective countries, Health advocacy as well as blankets and First Aid.
In Gauteng, the initial number looked after by the Red Cross was 500 but this has risen to 1500.