Mozambique begins 3 days of national mourning as AU, EU others donate
London, March 20, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Mozambique on Wednesday began three days of national mourning for more than 200 victims of Cyclone Idai, one of the most destructive storms southern Africa has experienced in decades.
In neighboring Zimbabwe, state media said the death toll was above 100.
The full extent of the devastation will only be known once floodwaters from torrential rains, expected to continue into Thursday, recede.
It will be days before Mozambique’s inundated plains drain toward the Indian Ocean, and aid groups have warned the waters are still rising.
Rescue crews are still struggling to reach victims, while aid groups say many survivors are trapped in remote areas, surrounded by wrecked roads and submerged villages.
Local media reported that there were food and fuel shortages in central Mozambique because Beira was cut off by road.
In eastern Zimbabwe grieving families are rushing to bury their dead because the cyclone has knocked out power supplies and stopped mortuaries from functioning
Meanwhile the chairman of the African Union Commission said the continental body would provide $350,000 in immediate support to the countries as part of an unprecedented show of support by the international community
On Wednesday, the Emirates News Agency cited the Emirates Red Crescent as saying that the United Arab Emirates would provide 18.3 million dirhams ($4.9 million) to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Zimbabwe’s president said a planeload of aid from the UAE was expected to arrive in the capital, Harare, later Wednesday.
The European Union has released 3.5 million euros ($3.9 million) in emergency aid, and the United Kingdom pledged up to 6 million pounds ($7.9 million). Tanzania’s military has airlifted 238 tons of food and medicine, and three Indian naval ships have been diverted to Beira to help with evacuations of stranded people and other efforts.
The Chinese Embassy and Chinese community in Zimbabwe donated food, purified water and equipment worth 200,000 U.S. dollars to help victims of Idai in the country.
These donations will be sent to the disaster areas in Manicaland Province, Chinese ambassador Guo Shaochun said at the handover ceremony on Wednesday morning.
The United States Embassy announced Wednesday that it was contributing an initial 100,000 dollars through the United States Agency for International Development.
In a tweet, the embassy said it was working with civil society partners to provide safe water, hygiene and sanitation and shelter to Zimbabweans in need.
Zimbabweans from all walks of life, public and private institutions and other international aid organizations are also chipping in to assist the affected.
Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique’s port city of Beira with winds of up to 170 kph (105 mph) on Thursday last week, then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings and putting the lives of millions of people at risk.
Drone footage showed residents of a shantytown at the port still picking through wreckage days after the storm hit and trying to drag plastic sheeting over their ruined homes.
“Great floods have sowed mourning and devastation in various areas of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi,” Pope Francis said on Wednesday. “I express my pain and closeness to those dear people.”
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi said a day earlier that the cyclone had killed more than 200 people in his country but rescuers were still discovering more bodies.
In the worst-hit eastern parts of Zimbabwe, grieving families rushed to bury their dead because the cyclone has knocked out power supplies and stopped mortuaries from functioning-Agency report