Zimbabwe Minister of Tourism and candidate for the next Secretary General post of the UNWTO send a letter of condolence to Minister of Tourism and the people of Haiti.
Your Excellency and Chairperson,
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I write, on behalf of the UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF)which I have the honor to Chair, and wish to extend to you our collective heartfelt sympathy and most sincere condolences on the tragic loss of life and terrible injuries inflicted upon the great people of Haiti.
This follows the devastating hurricane Matthew that passed through Tiburon peninsula – encompassing Haiti’s entire southern coast, ravaging the third-largest town of Les Cayes and Sous-Roches district. I understand that at least 900 people are believed to have died. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed and over a million people are in need aid.
No words can bring adequate comfort to those who have lost loved ones or whose homes and livelihoods have been decimated by this disaster, but please know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers at this most challenging and difficult time. You will recall, Hon Minister, during the 60th UNWTO Commission for the Americas held in Havana, Cuba on 3rd and 4th May 2016, I highlighted, on behalf of Africa, the need to expand the definition of insecurity to include natural disasters of different kinds prevalent in different regions, which often claim more lives than conventional threats experienced globally such as terrorism, and in this regard, the need for us to also adopt holistic mitigation strategies for susceptible regions which are usually prone to the vagaries of unpredictable weather phenomenon. At the time it was Ecuador in the news, now Haiti. I spoke at the time on relief and philanthropic tourism emphasizing then that one of the ways to help disaster stricken destinations is to continue visiting them.
This is the reason I have put as part of my transformation agenda for the UNWTO (www.waltermzembi.org), the issue of climate change as an integral critical policy aspect as it impacts on human lives, livelihoods and destination competitiveness. I am further aware of the need, as part of my future plans for global tourism to explore the efficacy of establishing pre and post-disaster philanthropic support mechanisms that harness various funding options towards countries stricken by disasters.
In the hope of meeting you again in the near future and of continuing our discussion on the search for effective mitigation measures and solutions, I once again extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to all those affected by hurricane Mathew in the Republic of Haiti.
I remain committed subject to your invitation as discussed recently during the World Tourism Day Celebrations in Bangkok, Thailand to a visit to Haiti in my Latin America engagements coming soon. I underscored the same during my chance encounter with your Prime Minister when I met him in Venezuela during the recent Non-Aligned Summit.
Please accept, Hon Minister and Excellency, my deepest condolences to the People of Haiti, and wish those who have survived this tragedy a quick recovery. Zimbabwe and Africa joins you in your three days of national mourning.
Hon Eng. Walter Mzembi, PhD
Minister of Tourism and the Hospitality Industry
Republic of Zimbabwe
UNWTO Commission for Africa