The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, announced $350,000 in immediate support to Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the three South African countries hit by Cyclone Idai.
Faki made the announcement after a discussion with Permanent Representative of the Republic of Malawi to the African Union, Ambassador Mhimango Edward Chirwa at his office on Tuesday March 19th. The Ambassador briefed Faki on the scope of the disaster in Malawi, adding that it was unprecedented and beyond his country’s capacity to respond.
Cyclone Idai has also affected Mozambique and Zimbabwe, with more than two million people impacted in the three countries. It has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, destroyed vast areas, cut off communications and made roads impassable.
In support of response efforts being made by the governments of the affected countries and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat, the Chairperson announced USD 350,000 to go to the three countries for immediate support, with Mozambique, the hardest hit of the three countries, to receive $150,000 from the AU’s emergency fund.
Faki also approved for the immediate dispatch of a high-level assessment mission to be led by the Permanent Representative Committee’s (PRC) Sub-Committee on Refugees, Returnees and IDPs to assess the situation firsthand and express solidarity with the governments and peoples of the three affected countries.
The Commission will redouble its advocacy efforts, to encourage both member states and partners to generously contribute to the ongoing efforts. “The Chairperson of the Commission reiterates the African Union solidarity with the Governments and the people of the affected countries,” the AU’s statement reads.
“The chairperson thanks the neighbouring countries and partners that have already rendered assistance to the three countries and calls on all African Union member states and the larger international community to urgently step up their support in order to effectively address the immediate response challenges at hand.”
So far 200 people have been confirmed dead in Mozambique only but the number of deaths caused by Cyclone Idai could be much higher.