“54 countries, 1.2 billion people Africa marks the creation of the world’s largest economic and free trade area,” International Trade Centre Director, Arancha Gonzalez reacts as the African Continental Free Trade Area is born
On Tuesday, Gambia became the 22nd country to ratify the accord, reaching the threshold for it to be implemented. It’s hoped the deal will reduce tariffs and trade rules, and create jobs for a market of 1.2 billion people. But Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, isn’t on board with the agreement. So will the deal succeed?
Weather forecasters say Cyclone Kenneth will make landfall on Mozambique’s coast on Thursday, bringing heavy rainfall, strong winds and waves of several metres to the southern African nation, which is still reeling from the effects of devastating Cyclone Idai.
“It’s going to make landfall tomorrow afternoon at Cabo Delgado, on the northeastern coast of Mozambique, and it is going to be a cyclone with wind speeds which could be 140 km per hour (87 miles per hour),” said Jan Vermeulen, from the South African Weather Service.
International energy companies such as Exxon Mobil have been developing huge natural gas fields off the coast of northern Mozambique.
Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Hundreds of people have been killed and 2.5 million need help. Houses, roads and bridges have been ripped apart and agricultural land is completely submerged. More than 600 people are confirmed dead and 400,000 have lost their homes.
The UN says this may be the worst weather-related disaster ever recorded in the southern hemisphere.
toll from Cyclone Idai climbs to more than 600. As the floodwaters from Cyclone Idai have started to recede, the death toll has risen to more than 600 across southeastern Africa and is expected to continue rising. The storm hit Mozambique,Malawi and Zimbabwe on March 14, causing extensive damage.
DEC members are working closely with national partners to support the relief effort, delivering emergency shelter kits, food, water purification tablets and urgent health assistance.
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The storm killed 242 people in Mozambique and 259 in Zimbabwe, and numbers were expected to rise – Emma Rumney, REUTERS
GUARA GUARA, Mozambique (Reuters) – At a camp near the city of Beira for people rescued from Mozambique’s catastrophic flooding, residents were dealing on Friday with worries about their future and shortages of pretty much everything – water, food and medicines.
Also, painfully, some of them lacked information about how their relatives were faring.
Aid organizations such as the World Food Programme and Red Cross are delivering food, water, shelter and other basic supplies to the camp at Guara Guara, which was set up by the government, and scores of others like it in the flood zone around Beira.
But with roads cut off, progress is slow. Camps like the one at Guara Guara, 45 km (30 miles) west of Beira, can be reached only by helicopter. There are a limited number of craft available and they are in huge demand.
Fernando Marevere, a local village chief, said the main concern for new arrivals at Guara Guara was food and medicines, which were both in short supply.
Eight large tents were sent to the camp on Wednesday, but on Friday most people were outside in the blazing sun, or huddling into small patches of shade cast by the branches of sparse trees.
People also took shelter in the village’s secondary school – whose roof was still intact – sitting or slumped, head down, at its wooden desks. A number of elderly women were curled up on their side on the dirt floor.
Fresh water was in low supply and there were no toilets. The camp’s residents, numbering in the hundreds, washed in a stream nearby.
Medical tents were small and cramped.
A young boy bawled as doctors worked on a deep cut on his foot, as a family friend held him still and shielded his face from the gore.
Augusto Jose, a pharmacy technician who had come from Beira to help, told Reuters the main concern was malaria, and how to diagnose it with so few tests at hand.
Esther Zinge, 60, from near the town of Buzi, had not eaten anything yet on Friday. She had missed breakfast while waiting in line with her husband for the doctor, because he was unwell.
“The help is coming, but it’s coming very slowly,” she said, adding that what did arrive had to be given to children first.
“We had to ask a local hospital for soya milk so we can stretch out the food. All we’ve had so far is biscuits,” she said. “The conditions are terrible, and more people keep coming.”
Cyclone Idai pummeled the port city of Beira and its low-lying surrounds last week with ferocious winds and tore inland, dumping torrential rains and causing massive flooding in swathes of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
The storm killed 242 people in Mozambique and 259 in Zimbabwe, and numbers were expected to rise, relief agencies said. In Malawi, 56 died in heavy rains before the onset of Idai.
Left with nothing, many people at Guara Guara were concerned for their future or the health of their small children. But the biggest fear, a number of people said, was for relatives and friends they had not heard from since the waters started rising.
There is no electricity, phones or internet at the camp.
“I could escape, but my nephew didn’t because he was not able to walk. He was sick and now I don’t know where he is,” said Zinge.
Louisa Ndena, 60, was sitting on the ground in a white aid tent surrounded by family members and toddlers.
“Besides our missing families, the thing we are most worried about is disease,” she said, explaining that there are no toilets, and if the village’s residents would not let them use theirs, they use bushes for privacy.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday its relief efforts included sending teams to the region to help families without access to telephones or the internet find their missing relatives.
“The agony of not knowing what happened to your loved ones in a disaster like Cyclone Idea is indescribable,” said Diane Araujo, an ICRC delegate deploying to Beira.
At Guara Guara, Albino Jose Albino, 18, was alone in the camp aside from friends, without an idea about what happened to his mother or seven siblings.
He too complained about a lack of food, water and shelter, but was more angry that he had no way to register his family as missing.
“They are not giving us details about our families, our lost families,” he said. “Someone should be responsible for this.”
Additional reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva; Writing by Frances Kerry; Editing by Toby Chopra
More than 100 people have been killed and 843,000 affected by torrential rains in Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa, the UN and officials said, as tropical cyclone Idai is expected to hit the continent’s south-eastern countries.
Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries, according to the United Nations and government officials.
At least 66 people in Mozambique, and four in South Africa were killed, after heavy rains caused flash flooding.
In neighbouring Malawi, the death toll rose to 56, an official said on Wednesday, with the country on high alert for cyclone Idai, which is expected to make landfall on Thursday or Friday.
Almost 83,000 people have been displaced in the country since storms began more than a week ago, causing rivers to break their banks, leaving villages underwater, and knocking out power and water supplies in some areas.
At least 31 people have been killed and dozens are missing in parts of eastern Zimbabwe after the country was hit by tropical cyclone Idai which lashed neighbouring Mozambique and Malawi, the government said.
Homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and police stations have been destroyed. Roads have been washed away and thousands are stranded by heavy flooding.
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information said on Saturday that the deaths were mainly from Chimanimani East, including two students, while at least 40 other people have been injured.
It added that the Zimbabwean national army was leading rescue efforts to airlift students from a damaged school and others trapped by the storm. READ MORE
A group of people, who fled their homes, was “marooned” on top of a mountain waiting to be rescued, but strong winds were hampering helicopter flights, the ministry said.
Joshua Sacco, a member of parliament in Chimanimani district, said at least 25 houses were swept away following a mudslide at Ngangu township.
“There were people inside,” he told AFP news agency. “The information we have so far is that over 100 people are missing.”
In a Twitter post, Jacob Mafume, spokesman for Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, warned that there was a “serious humanitarian crisis” unfolding in eastern Zimbabwe districts.
In Mozambique, where Idai made landfall on Thursday, at least 19 people died and about 70 were severely injured. The storm hit with wind gusts of about 160 kilometres per hour, causing ocean waves of up to nine metres high.
Luis Fonseca, a journalist at Lusa News Agency, said that the cyclone was expected to dissipate on Saturday in Mozambique, but it would continue to create trouble.READ MORE
“The problem now is that the rivers are likely to flood all the areas around, and this will cause even more damage to all these families which have [already] lost their houses.”
“Now they risk losing their harvest and food insecurity is the next big risk in all over this area,” Fonseca explains.
Local officials in Mozambique said that heavy rains earlier in the week, before the cyclone struck, had already claimed another 66 lives, injured scores and displaced 17,000 people.
When the cyclone hit Mozambique, authorities were forced to close the international airport in the port city of Beira after the air traffic control tower, the navigation systems and the runways were damaged by the storm.
An official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) of Mozambique told AFP on Friday “there is extreme havoc”.
“Some runway lights were damaged, the navigation system is damaged, the control tower antennas and the control tower itself are all damaged.”
“The runway is full of obstacles and parked aircraft are damaged.”
Heavy downpours in neighbouring Malawi this week have also affected almost a million people and claimed 56 lives there, according to the latest government toll.
South Africa‘s military has sent in aircraft and 10 medical personnel to help in Mozambique and Malawi, it said in a statement on Saturday.