Ten students from tropical cyclone Idai affected regions in Zimbabwe on Saturday traveled to China’s Zhejiang province for the festive season.
The seven-day trip was co-organized by the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe and the Zhejiang provincial government.
“The main purpose of the trip was, sort of therapy for the trauma cased during the cyclone Idai disaster because some of the kids, they have friends and school mates who were washed away by the floods. Some of the children’s parents were also washed away by the floods,” said Vimbainashe Zviuya, deputy headmaster at Mutambara High School in Chimanimanni, one of the schools that were affected severely by the cyclone.
Idai made landfall near the Mozambican coastal city of Beira in March, before moving inland into the eastern parts of Zimbabwe, wiping out critical infrastructure.
About three million people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi were affected by torrential rains and winds that reached speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour.
In Zimbabwe, the cyclone killed at least 185 people and left 270,000 people in urgent need of humanitarian aid, according to the World Food Program.
Speaking at the sendoff ceremony in Harare, Hou Yuehan, an attache at the Chinese Embassy said that “the children suffered a lot, and the Chinese government want to show kindness and solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, so we invited young children, the youth because they are the future of the country.”
“They will have some interaction with Chinese youth, and on Christmas eve they will attend some celebrations, and after that they will travel to another town in Zhejiang for sightseeing and to experience Chinese culture,” Hou said.
The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe and the Zhejiang provincial government will cover all travel expenses, accommodation and winter clothing.