Pretoria: Members of the South African Defence Force (SANDF) and charity organisation Gift of the Givers are currently deployed in flood stricken Mozambique to distribute aid and assist displaced locals to rebuild their lives.
What started out as a rescue operation has become a humanitarian operation and Gift of the Givers, in partnership with the SANDF, is expected to deliver 135 tonnes of emergency aid to the country.
“This will augment the rescue efforts of the SANDF, which include the provision of boats, divers, aquatic rescue personnel, paramedics and medical teams from the SA military health services,” International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Thursday.
Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza had asked for the South African government’s assistance in its evacuation efforts. He had also requested three helicopters for rescue operations.
On 24 January, the SANDF deployed two helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft for rescue purposes. According to reports, over 150 000 people have been displaced by floods in the country.
Nkoana-Mashabane said the conclusion of the 20th African Union Summit last week highlighted African leaders’ commitment to strengthen governance and economic development.
At the summit, African Heads of State, including President Jacob Zuma, met to discuss issues affecting the continent. “The summit was very successful and resulted in a number of important decisions being taken towards a united, peaceful and prosperous continent,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.
Top of the agenda was the conflict in areas such as Mali, where African soldiers have been deploy to support that country’s national army in confronting al-Qaeda linked militants who have seized territory in the north following a coup, as well as the DRC.
Leaders also looked at the developmental agenda of the continent. Among the important decisions taken at the summit were the call for the transformation and the refocusing of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Established by the UN, the ECA helps to promote economic and social development at African countries. The four-year plan for the continent was being revised.