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Speech at the Ceremony of Handover and Shipment of Disaster Relief Supplies to Mozambique
——By H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian of China to South Africa


Y.E. Mr. Paulino Macaringue, High Commissioner of Mozambique to South Africa,

Y.E. Mr. Tamele, Consul General of Mozambique in Johannesburg,

Mr. Li Guodong, President of the Southern Africa Chinese Entrepreneurs Association,

Fellow Chinese compatriots in Africa and friends from the press,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

I am very glad to attend this special ceremony of handover and shipment of the disaster relief needed materials donated by the Chinese communities in South Africa and other 20 surrounding countries to the disaster-stricken areas in Mozambique.

First of all, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, I would like to once again convey our deep condolences to the victims in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi which were recently hit by strong tropical cyclone, causing heavy casualties and property losses. We wish the injured an early recovery and the people in the disaster-stricken areas rebuilding their homes at an early date.

The Southern Africa Chinese Entrepreneurs Association (SACEA) mobilized Chinese communities in South Africa and 20 neighboring African countries to donate nearly 1 million Rand disaster relief materials to people in the disaster-stricken areas in Mozambique. The purpose of High Commissioner of Mozambique to South Africa and I attending the ceremony is to pay tribute and express our heartfelt thanks to the Chinese communities who have organized for this generous donation and kindly donated their cash and kind.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. The merciless strong tropical cyclone Idai swept across three countries in Southern Africa and caused heavy casualties and property losses. The Chinese government and people sympathize with the disaster-stricken countries and their people and have immediately lent a helping hand. The Chinese government, enterprises and Chinese people working together to offer their assistance in cash and in kind, and more importantly a powerful Chinese medical team was dispatched immediately to the affected areas for medical relief. China’s relief efforts are a real testimony to the brotherhood between China and Africa. I believe that China’s disaster relief efforts are defined by the following three features:

First, China is one of the first groups taking part in the disaster relief efforts. On March 20, H.E. President Xi Jinping respectively sent messages of condolences to the three heads of state of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, having shown our strong political commitment of the Chinese government and people to work side by side with the three affected African countries in fighting the disaster and for their reconstruction.

Meanwhile, at the request of the government of Mozambique, the Chinese government immediately dispatched a 65-member medical team to Beira, the worst-hit area by the disaster and epidemic in Mozambique. The Chinese medical team has worked side by side with the local government and people at the forefront of the battle against the disaster, engaged in emergency search and rescue missions, medical assistance and epidemic prevention operations, and spared no efforts to save lives and help the victims there.

According to statistics, the Chinese medical team has treated and saved 3,337 people and disinfected an area of 330.8 thousand square meters and distributed emergency supplies including food, medicine, drinking water, rice and biscuits to the people in the affected areas. What the Chinese medical teams have done do in Beira has been widely appreciated by international organizations and local governments and people.

Second, both the Chinese government and people have participated in the disaster relief efforts. The emergency humanitarian assistance provided by China to the three countries this time not only comes from the Chinese government but also from the Chinese enterprises and individuals in the three disaster-stricken countries and other 18 neighboring African countries including South Africa.

Third, the disaster relief assistance has been provided in various forms, China not only offered a large amount of cash and supplies, but also mobilized the medical teams and enterprises from China and three affected countries to join the disaster relief, disease treatment and reconstruction efforts. Besides, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in three affected countries also mobilized local Chinese companies and communities to donate cash and kind.

I am proud to say that one Chinese state-owned enterprise in Mozambique have lost no time in helping the local government and people reconstruct the country’s national highway N6, which was destroyed by flood, for disaster relief efforts and reconstruction. Another Chinese state-owned enterprise, called China National Petroleum Corporation in Mozambique has donated 200,000 US dollars to the disaster-stricken areas. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Mozambique has collected and donated such emergency supplies as 210 tons of rice, 10 tons of corn flour, 110 boxes of drinking water, 250 boxes of biscuits, 100 quilts and 20 sets of solar power equipment.The Southern Africa Chinese Entrepreneurs Association (SACEA) based in South Africa has also mobilized the Chinese business and individuals in 21 African countries to donate almost 1 million Rand disaster relief supplies.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The above-mentioned selfless assistance provided by the Chinese government, companies and individuals speaks volumes about the fine tradition of offering mutual support in times of adversity of the Chinese nation and the brotherhood between China and Africa to share weal and woe. Just as President Xi Jinping said, China will remain a close friend, a reliable partner and a good brother of Africa. When our African brothers are in need, the Chinese government and people will always lose no time in lending a helping hand.

In 2014, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea suffered from the most severe Ebola epidemic ever seen in human history, which caused heavy casualties. When the international airlines to the three affected countries were closed off, the Chinese government chartered large aircrafts 23 times to transport needed materials worth of US $175 million to the three affected countries and ten neighboring countries. When some Western countries evacuated their diplomats and nationals, China dispatched the most capable military and civil medical teams composed of over 1000 people to the areas worst hit by the Ebola epidemic, help local people fight the Ebola to the end. China played an important role in leading the international community to help the African countries overcome the Ebola epidemic. After that time, I was the Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry coordinating the relief operation, and I am extremely proud of what we have done for the affected African countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are glad to see that the government of South Africa has overcome its own economic difficulties to offer assistance to the three countries hit by cyclone Idai. In the wake of the disaster, Foreign Minister Sisulu flew by helicopter to the affected areas of the three countries, to express the sincere sympathy and bring disaster relief supplies on behalf of the South African government and people, playing an important role in appealing to the international community to offer disaster relief assistance.

Now, the disaster relief supplies donated by our the Chinese communities in South Africa and neighboring African countries mobilized by the SACEA are ready for loading and transporting to Mozambique. We deeply understand that the donation is far from enough to meet the needs of the affected people there, but it indeed embodies the Chinese people’s profound friendship to the people in Mozambique. It is our sincere hope and belief that with the assistance of the international community, the disaster-stricken countries and peoples will overcome the difficulties and rebuild their beautiful homeland.

Thank you very much!

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