Following the devastating Cyclone Idai and floods which have struck hard in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe causing hundreds of deaths and leaving more than a thousand people displaced, Tanzania has offered food and drugs aid to support the victims of the disaster. The aid includes 24 tonnes of drugs and 200 tonnes of maize and 14 tonnes of rice.
The aid was handed over to the envoys of the affected countries in Tanzania by the Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Professor Palamagamba Kabudi and the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) on March 19th.
Speaking during the loading of the consignment, Prof. Kabudi said the move was in fulfillment of President John Magufuli`s directive to extend support to the countries after the devastating tragedy. Professor Kabudi pointed out that after getting the news; the President spoke to his counterparts and saw it wise to extend support. `These people are our neighbors. They are our family and we all are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We stand together with all the people in the affected countries, bearing in mind that a similar situation might happen in our country. As our neighbors, their problems are ours; their death is our death….we live by helping each other, ` said Professor Kabudi.
A military plane carrying 14 tonnes of rice and 16 tonnes of drugs, among other things left for Mozambique and Zimbabwe on March 19th. Plus, seven trucks loaded with 8 tonnes and 200 tonnes of maize took off from Mbeya for Kalonga in Malawi. He also called upon members of the public and companies that have been touched and want to contribute anything to do so through the Office of the Prime Minister for subsequent delivery to the people in the affected countries.
Health Minister, Ummy Mwalimu stated that immediately after the president issued the directive, the ministry acted fast to ensure that the required drugs were obtained for emergency delivery to the needy. Miss Mwalimu communicated to her counterparts to find out the required drugs, and it was found out that the countries needed antibiotics majorly for prevention of disease outbreaks. As such, a large part of the consignment consisted of antibiotics, oral rehydration sachets for diarrhoea prevention, infusion and pain killers. Other items included mattresses, mosquito nets, blankets and bed sheets.
She disclosed that Tanzania had a sufficient stock of drugs and medical supplies and would have wanted to offer more but the plane could only afford to carry the consignment in question. ` We would like to assure the countries of our support and we are ready to extend our help further by offering our doctors, if they request, ` said Miss Mwalimu.
Fears are growing for more than 500,000 people in the Mozambican city of Beira, after aid agencies officials warned that 90 per cent of the area had been destroyed by cyclone Idai.
The cyclone slammed into the southeast African country as a high end category 2 storm with 175 kph (110 mph winds) at midnight on Thursday 14th March causing widespread devastation before moving inland into Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Reports have indicated that the death toll in Mozambique from Cyclone Idai could be as high as 1,000 people, while in Malawi the death toll is 122 and 98 deaths recorded in Zimbabwe and is expected to rise.