March 21, 2019

Africans Rising for Justice, Peace & Dignity is very saddened by Cyclone Idai’s battering ramifications following its landfall in Mozambique. The tragedy continues to unfold amid weak, if not nonexistent disaster preparedness on the part of the Mozambican government.

The cyclone hit Mozambique last week, Beira is the port city that has received the most wrecking storm over the last few days, however, remnants of the storm are still pouring down rain leading to the submergence of entire villages and towns. According to the United Nations reports, 1.7 million people live in the direct-path of the cyclone in Mozambique, in Malawi, the number of affected citizens may reach 920,000. At least 215 casualties have been confirmed in Beira, in this city alone more than 100,000 remain at risk because of the severe flooding. In his address to the nation, President Filipe Nyusi shared concerns that the death toll might reach a 1000 people.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Cyclone Idai might be the southern hemisphere's worst disaster affecting millions of our fellow Africans. Malawi has been hit by heavy rains and violent winds, aid agencies have been scrambling to reach the affected communities after the perish of over 56 people. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, the cyclone has hit as a tropical storm, destroying several districts in the eastern part of the country and killing over a 100 people, however, the final death toll could be much higher.

We would like to commend all the people and organisations that have been working tirelessly to rescue and support affected people. IFRC has released about 340,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund which will go towards an initial response effort for about 7,500 people. However, given the scale of the disaster, pan-African and global support is needed to overcome this crisis. Therefore, we call upon Africans Rising members and we invite all our African people to support the relief efforts that have been carried out by humanitarian organisations on the ground.

Our movement is deeply concerned about those who have survived the disaster; the few relief teams that have been outsourced to handle this crisis are facing major difficulties to access the affected cities, especially Beira. Telephone poles, bridges and roads are completely submerged, therefore rescue missions are being conducted by air, leaving many unaided and without necessary emergency supplies. Our African brothers and sisters continue to fight for their lives as heavy rains and winds may lead to further devastation. They have a brief period of time to mourn the loss of their loved ones or salvage what remains of their belongings.

Africans Rising Ambassador Jay Naidoo has expressed his deep concern about Cyclone Idai’s disastrous effect.“According to Save the Children, aerial assessments show that Buzi town _which is estimated to be home to more than 2,500 children_ could be completely underwater by now, we cannot be bystanders in the face of such a tragic demise of African children, we have to work together to overcome this destruction of homes, infrastructure and schools, we have a duty to support in any way possible,'' he stated.

Jay Naidoo and Africans Rising call on all African governments to assume their duty of landing a hand to the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. We would like to reiterate a deep concern about the lack of disaster preparedness among African governments, with the exception of South Africa. Our leaders must acknowledge the real threat of climate change and work toward tackling its tragic effects on the people of Africa. We also call on all Africans, humanitarian & aid groups, movements and global citizens to assist the ongoing relief missions in the affected countries by donating money through our PayPal or Ecobank. All the proceeds from this emergency campaign will be allocated to Cyclone Idai victim support which will be carried out by Africans Rising members in Mozambique.

In closing, we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of all those who have fallen victims of this natural disaster.

In Solidarity,
Jay Naidoo and Africans Rising Leadership Team

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