Cyclone Idai, which has been described by the UN as probably the worst such disaster ever in the southern hemisphere, has affected 2 million people in the three countries. The African Union has joined the ranks of bodies contributing to the relief effort.

The African Union (AU) has contributed US$350 000 to disaster efforts in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The three countries were affected by Cyclone Idai, with Mozambique and Zimbabwe being the hardest hit. The permanent representative of the Republic of Malawi to the AU, Ambassador Mhimango Edward Chirwa, met with chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, to discuss the impact of the disaster in Malawi.

According to the AU press release, Cyclone Idai has affected 2 million people in the three countries. The US$350 000 presented by the AU pales in comparison to the €3,5 million released by the European Union (EU). Mozambique will receive US$150 000 of the AU emergency fund, and €2 million of the EU donation. Malawi will receive €1 million while €0,5 million will go to Zimbabwe.

While the AU donation has been welcomed, it has also been criticised for not being enough. Some commentators suggested the AU set up a fund to which Africans can contribute for disaster relief. Others have questioned what those African dictators who profess to be Pan-Africanists are doing.

The AU depends on foreign donors. In a previous article covered by This Is Africa, the amount quoted was “54% of a total budget of US$685,5 million, or €596 million” to be sourced from foreign donors. At its 11th extraordinary summit, the AU clearly stated its intention of imposing sanctions on member states that failed to pay their annual financial contributions.

According to the press release regarding the disaster relief donation, the chairperson of the AU Commission “approved a dispatch of a high-level assessment mission to be led by the Permanent Representative Committee’s Sub-Committee on Refugees, Returnees and IDPs to assess the situation first-hand and express solidarity with the governments and peoples of the three affected countries.”

While individual African countries like Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia and Angola have contributed their quota to supporting Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, Zimbabweans have also come together from the diaspora to contribute to helping the situation back home.

Source ; Africanews

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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