Red Cross rescues farm workers

HARARE - Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) this week responded to a fire disaster which left 25 families homeless and destitute at Stapleford Farm, 2km along the Chinhoyi highway.

The Red Cross response follows a call by the department of Civil Protection (CPU) for disaster relief. The humanitarian player availed non-food relief items among them shelter kits, kitchen sets, water buckets, clothes, among other essentials.

ZRCS secretary general Maxwell Phiri said disasters and emergencies are common place but they are always ready to play a part though competing needs always outweigh available resources. 

“Disasters of this nature are common place but the Red Cross is always ready to play its part in alleviating human suffering. Our major challenge, however, is that such eventualities always require both food and non-food relief items which at times we don’t have ready and we call on all stakeholders including corporates to join our efforts,” Phiri said.

The Stapleford fire disaster was a result of veld fires and given that most of the farm workers’ houses are grass thatched, the situation could have been worse.

One of the victims of the fire disaster Anthem Chiwa thanked the Red Cross for the timely intervention and highlighted that their situation remains dire.

“We are grateful to the Red Cross for the support. However, our situation remains dire. It is our hope that the Red Cross and other partners help us get our lives back.  We have no homes and while the shelter kits may help for now they are not permanent and the rains are coming,” she said.

ZRCS has played a significant role in disaster response and development work and some of their key interventions include the Tokwe-Mukorsi disaster of 2014, the 2008 cholera outbreak.

ZRCS champions development and disaster risk reduction programmes aimed at empowering communities against obtaining challenges and to equip them for emergency and disaster situations.

Phiri also emphasised the need for communities to be equipped for emergencies through basic first aid training so that they save lives.

“Beyond a host of other development programmes like food security and livelihoods, water and sanitation, health social services, disaster response as restoration of family links; ZRCS also provides first aid and nurse aide training across Zimbabwe and it is our hope that citizens enlist for such training at our nationwide centres so that they are equipped for emergencies,” he said. 

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