The University of South Africa’s (UNISA) Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mandla Makhanya, has appealed for donations into the UNISA Ubuntu/Botho Disaster Relief Initiative.
The deadly Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique on 11 March 2019, killing about 598 people in the country. Official reports have reported the cyclone as being responsible for killing about 259 in Mozambique’s neighbouring country, Zimbabwe, and a further 56 in Malawi. The cyclone has left about 128 000 people displaced in Mozambique.
UNISA has since launched the UNISA Ubuntu/Botho Disaster Relief Initiative to aid countries affected by Cyclone Idai. In a statement, the university’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mandla Makhanya, has appealed for donations into the initiative.
“In view of the recent crippling devastation that befell our fellow brothers and sisters in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe due to Cyclone Idai, the University of South Africa has launched the Unisa Ubuntu/Botho Disaster Relief Initiative. We are therefore appealing to the people of Tshwane, Unisa Alumni, Staff, Students and the Diplomatic Community to generously donate clothes, blankets, non-perishable foodstuffs and hygiene supplies to the Unisa Ubuntu/Botho Disaster Relief initiative. Unisa will also make efforts to get its experts and volunteers to engage in the advisory and rebuilding process of the affected countries and communities.
“I am particularly appealing to the people of Tshwane because the affected countries are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). As the SADC family, we are defined by our compassion towards others.”
On 28 March 2019, about five cases of cholera were reported from Mozambique. Since then, the number has grown exponentially. The South African Council of Churches (SACC), Red Cross South Africa and other civil societies have since joined efforts to offer urgent relief and support to survivors of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Red Cross South Africa CEO Lindel Papiyah said ahead of a planned media briefing, “We are partnering with the churches because this is a disaster that will require the highest level of mobilisation possible, and churches have that footprint and goodwill.”
SACC’s Bishop Mpumlwana said, “We know that many more people will die from disease resulting from this tragedy, far more than those lives taken by the cyclone itself. Human lives will need to recalibrate in the new reality, including dealing with hundreds of children orphaned in this disaster.