On March 15, Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall in south-eastern Africa and caused a disaster in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. In early April, USAID Administrator Mark Green sent Counselor Christopher Milligan to Mozambique. He expressed the Agency’s sympathies to the government and the victims of the massive cyclone and the subsequent flooding. He described the devastating situation there and the need for U.S. assistance:
“The cyclone came across and devastated four provinces of Mozambique, as well as parts of Zimbabwe and Malawi. But what it also did, was create an inland sea of more than 800 square miles in an area with very, very few tall buildings. So a lot of people’s homes and infrastructure were destroyed by the flooding, as well as the high winds that came with the cyclone.”
Some 1.8 million people have been affected by cyclone Idai.More than 600 people died in Mozambique, while well over 300 died in Zimbabwe, said Counselor Milligan:
"The U.S. government provided emergency airlift through the Department of Defense, AFRICOM. We were able, the U.S. government, to run nearly 80 airlift missions, moving about 800 metric tons of food and help [bring] items to the hard-hit communities.”
Indeed, food security remains a concern, as does an outbreak of cholera.
The U.S. government, said Counselor Milligan, has also provided funding to the World Food Program to help feed about 1.7 million people in need.In addition, the U.S. government provided about 2.5 million dollars in emergency relief to Zimbabwe, and over 3 million dollars to Malawi. Mozambique, the hardest-hit country, received over 50 million dollars in assistance.
So why does the United States care about such far-away countries?
“We care for many reasons,” said Counselor Milligan. “We’re a generous people, and one of our key values is our generosity. And we help those when they’re in need.”
The United States has been working with Mozambique for a long time to assist the country recover from a devastating civil war, and to help Mozambique become more self-reliant and stable so it can be a full partner in the international community.