Local tobacco buying companies trading under the banner Tobacco Processors Association (TPA) in collaboration with Imperial Tobacco Group (ITG) have responded to government’s appeal by donating assorted relief items worth over K25 millionto people who were affected by the recent floods at Chisi Island in Zomba District.
TPA is an umbrella grouping of all tobacco buying companies in the country among them Alliance One Tobacco, Limbe Leaf and JTI among others while Imperial Tobacco Group is a British multinational tobacco company, which manufactures and sells tobacco related products across the globe.
Speaking during the relief items handover ceremony in Zomba, TPA representative who is also Alliance One Corporate Affairs Officer Trevor Chikankheni said that the association thought it wise to assist the floods victims of Chisi Island as one way of alleviating some of the challenges which the floods victims are facing.
“As an association of tobacco buyers we are glad that we have made the donation which will go a long way in reducing some of the challenges which our sisters and brothers who have been affected by the recent floods are facing here at Chisi Island.
“Additionally, our association would like to thank Imperial Tobacco Group for their financial contribution which enabled us to buy some of the donated items,” said Chikankheni
In his remarks, former Parliamentarian for Zomba-Chisi constituency Mark Botomani urged the recipients, especially men against abusing the donated relief items. He howeverthanked the tobacco companies for their timely donation as well as the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) for their assistance in ferrying the items by helicopter to the island.
“Let me urge my fellow locals here to exercise patience with the pace at which relief items are being donated to the victims here by government and other well-wishers. Such is the case because is an emergency situation hence I would like to urge those who have received these items especially men not to sell them for your own financial gains,” he said.
Zomba was one of the districts in the southern part of the country where heavy rains displaced thousands of families which also led to loss of at least 60 lives.
So far about 450 affected families from the Island received the donated relief items which include maize flour, fish, cooking pots, rice, beans, sugar, soap, cooking oil and blankets among others.
President Peter Mutharika declared a State of Disaster on March 8 this year and on March 29 government launched a three month response plan and appeal requesting for humanitarian aid to help the victims of the floods which was caused by Cyclone Idai.