George Maponga in MIDRAND, South Africa
The Pan African Parliament (PAP) is planning to move a motion to send a fact-finding mission from the parliamentary body to Zimbabwe and two other southern African countries that were devastated by Cyclone Idai as part of a renewed thrust to mobilise more aid for disaster-stricken areas.
Plans to move the motion are already at advanced stage with its adoption expected before the end of the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of PAP’s Fifth Parliament currently sitting at the organisation’s headquarters here.
If adopted PAP will immediately dispatch a team of parliamentarians to visit cyclone-hit areas in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi paving the way for a reinvigorated thrust to source more aid for humanitarian and reconstruction purposes.
The Cylcone Idai, which killed hundreds of people in Zimbabwe and ravaged infrastructure such as roads and schools in the country is looming large at PAP’s ongoing Second Ordinary Session with a minute of silence being observed by the African parliamentary before every major session in memory of those who lost their lives.
PAP has already extended a helping to Idai- hit countries with its Food Security Ambassador a Zimbabwean national, Dr Bryline Chitsunge having already handed over donations to flood victims in Chipinge and Chimanimani.
Speaking during a Southern Africa regional caucus meeting here, PAP Vice President Chief Fortune Charumbira told parliamentarians that a motion for a fact-finding mission by the African parliamentary body would be moved.
Chief Charumbira said the import of the motion would to pave way for the deployment of PAP parliamentarians to have an on the ground assessment of the situation in countries hit by Idai.
‘’A motion for PAP to set up a team of parliamentarians that will visit counties in the region (SADC) hit by Cyclone Idai will be moved and adopted during this session and the team will be immediately deployed to intensify mobilisation of more humanitarian and reconstruction assistance and I think it is important for this caucus (Southern Africa Region) to know this since countries affected by the disaster are from here,’’ said Chief Charumbira.
He said deployment of the PAP team would open bigger doors for aid mobilisation for affected countries which are grappling with crisis triggered by the disaster especially in the sphere of health and infrastructure.
‘’Sending a fact-finding team on the ground will result in PAP expanding its appeal for aid because Cyclone Idai left a trail of destruction and I can say this considering what happened to my country Zimbabwe where hundreds of people were killed and some are still missing up to this day.’’
Chief Charumbira told the caucus that some Zimbabweans who were swept away by Idai-inspired floods in Chimanimani and Chipinge were buried in Mozambique after people in that country saw their floating bodies.
He thanked the people of Mozambique for burying the Zimbabweans and told the caucus that the Harare Government led by President Mnangagwa was spearheading reconstruction to restore normalcy in the lives of communities in Idai-hit areas.
Several countries, international organisations and individuals have been sending humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe and other countries affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai, which is one of the worst disasters in living memory in terms of human casualties and magnitude of infrastructural damage.