NANCY SIAME, Lusaka GOVERNMENT has donated relief emergency relief items to Malawi to help it cope with devastating effects of the floods, acting President Guy Scott has announced.
The acting President made the announcement at a press briefing at his office yesterday. The donation includes K140, 000 cash, 300 units of tents valued at K1, 650,000 and 50 bales of blankets.
“Malawi is one of our nearest neighbours. This is being done in line with international and regional humanitarian assistance undertakings,” Dr Scott said.
The acting president has since directed the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) to immediately assist their counterparts in Malawi in the disaster management operations.
“The Muslim community in Chipata has offered to assist Government with food and medicines,” Dr Scott said. He said the floods have damaged a lot of crops, washed away livestock and damaged infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
Dr Scott appealed to the private sector and other well-wishers to assist Malawi through contributions towards the humanitarian crisis.
Heavy rains over the last few weeks have led to severe flooding in Malawi and Mozambique. About 70,000 people have been displaced, 48 lives have been lost and 15 districts have been affected.
“If we get floods this month or later next month, we expect them to come to our aid as well,” Dr Scott said.
And Dr Scott has launched a Zambian Breweries beer product which uses cassava as the base instead of maize.
Dr Scott said he gave the idea to the company three years ago and is happy that it has materialised “We have a lot of cassava grown in the country and this initiative is a brilliant idea,” Dr Scott said.
And Zambian Breweries managing director Annabelle Degroot Anabella said her company is delighted to launch the cassava base beer under the Eagle name.
“This is a milestone in the development of commercially viable cassava value chain and is in line with the government’s programme of crop diversification particularly for small -holder farmers,” Ms Degroot said.
She said 350 small holder farmers will be engaged to supply cassava with an increase in the number of farmers engaged as the demand for the beer grows as well as the cassava content.
Ms Degroot said the cassava base beer lager is a cheaper, affordable and heathier alternative for consumers who cannot afford the company’s mainstream products and end up resorting to harmful spirits and others of cheaper quality and home brews of doubtful quality.
“The launch of this product is clear demonstrations of our commitment to develop innovative products for our consumers,” she said.