By Sifiso Dlamini | 2020-05-06
THE COVID-19 Emergency Task Team will commence the much anticipated distribution of donated food on Friday.
The food distribution will start at two most affected constituencies, which have been identified.
This follows Parliament debates and varying opinions from both members of the public as well as parliamentarians regarding which form of COVID-19 relief assistance would be best suited for the affected population, coupled with the programme formulation by the task team.
National Disaster Management Agency Chief Executive Officer Russell Dlamini confirmed that the distribution of donated food parcels would begin on Friday.
He said the distribution commences with two constituencies among the most affected in the country which have been identified by the task team.
He stated that the names of the constituencies could not be revealed yet as they were in the process of engaging their authorities.
These include chiefs, MPs as well as bucopho and tindvuna tetinkhundla. Members of Parliament stuck to their resolution which was in preference of food parcels instead of cash as the best form of relief assistance to be provided by government. Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku insisted that the relief assistance would be in two fold, with both cash based transfers (CBT) and food parcels distribution implemented. He added that the distribution of the food parcels would consist of donated followed by state procured food.
He further insisted that the cash based transfer would continue as it was part of an ongoing programme implemented by Baphalali Eswatini Red Cross and World Food Programme (WFP).
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the kingdom, His Majesty the King, companies and various organisations as well as individuals have donated food parcels and cash donations to assist in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
NDMA CEO said the data collection for both forms of relief, particularly the cash based transfers, was still ongoing.
"The process is still ongoing, it was meant to be a three week process and we are in the second week. It will be completed next week," he said.
He added that the next step would be vetting the data and verification that the listed beneficiaries fell under the most affected category of the population for the government relief assistance.
He stated that the task team would further engage the electronic transfer service providers being MTN Eswatini as well as Eswatini Mobile and finalise the implementation and commencement of the distributions.
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