A Zimbabwean economics graduate, Blessing Chirima, says the situation in Wuhan, China, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus, is getting desperate with prices of basic commodities skyrocketing and most students now becoming destitute, as their bank accounts are now running dry.
Chirima graduated in January and was due to leave for Zimbabwe and return to China later to complete her masters degree. She was caught up in the coronavirus lockdown that resulted in the grounding of planes, closing of schools and businesses and shutting down of all transport networks as the entire city population was put in quarantine to avoid spreading the disease.
Chirima says most students and other Zimbabweans working in Wuhan are now running out of finances as some of them were working part time to supplement their income and pay college fees.
She is appealing for donations for buying food and other basic necessities.
"The financial assistance can be channelled through the embassy. We are appealing to our government for help as other nations are currently assisting their citizens here in China to ensure that they continue to be fed and afford buying foodstuffs. The situation is so dire that some people might end up succumbing to starvation despite the coronavirus being the biggest health threat right now," said Chirima.
Zimbabwe’s chief envoy to China, Ambassador Martin Chedondo, recently told the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper that about 800 Zimbabweans are among the 60 million people that are living in Hubei Province — the epicentre of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
He said all of them are currently safe from the respiratory disease.