Daily Archives: March 16, 2019

Cyclone cuts off Mozambique coastal city of Beira

Tropical cyclone Idai battered Mozambican coastal city Beira Friday, leaving half a million people virtually cut off after power lines crashed, airport shut and roads were swamped by flooding that killed 66 people nationwide.

“There is no communication with Beira. Houses and trees were destroyed and pylons downed,” an official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) told AFP.

Authorities had to close Beira international airport after the air traffic control tower, the navigation systems and the runways were damaged by the storm.

“Unfortunately there is extreme havoc,” said the official.

“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 aircrafts are damaged.”

Late on Wednesday, the national carrier LAM cancelled all flights to Beira and Quelimane, which is also on the coast, as well as to Chomoio, which is inland.

Power utility Electricidade de Mocambique said in a statement that the provinces of Manica, Sofala and parts of Inhambane have been without power since Thursday.

Officials did not report any confirmed deaths, but local Beira station STV reported a child had died in Manica province west of the city, apparently the victim of a falling roof.

“There was no tsunami-type storm but Beira and Chinde (400 kilometres, 250 miles northeast of Beira on the coast) were badly hit,” added the NIDM official.

Another official, Pedro Armando Alberto Virgula, in Chinde, said a hospital, police station and seven schools there lost their roofs and four houses were destroyed.

Virgula added that efforts were under way to assess the damage caused after Idai made landfall late on Thursday.

Local officials said that this week’s heavy rains claimed 66 lives, injured 111 people and displaced 17,000 people.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said it would move 20 tonnes of emergency food aid to the affected areas.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had warned that the storm could pack winds of up to 190 kilometres per hour (118 miles per hour).

– ‘Devastation’ –

At least 126 people were killed by the downpour that has struck parts of Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa over the past week, officials said.

Heavy rains in neighbouring Malawi have affected almost a million people and claimed 56 lives, according to the latest government toll.

Authorities there have opened emergency relief camps where malaria and shortages of supplies have led to dire conditions, according to AFP correspondents.

Malawian President Peter Mutharika this week declared a natural disaster.

Mozambique’s weather service has warned that heavy rain will continue to batter Beira and surrounding areas until Sunday.

The UN warned of damage to crops, “including about 168,000 hectares (415,000 acres) of crops already impacted by flooding in early March, which will undermine food security and nutrition”.

Mozambique and Malawi, two of the poorest countries in the world, are prone to deadly flooding during the rainy season and chronic drought during the dry season.

In neighbouring Zimbabwe, weather services have warned that violent thunderstorms, lightning and strong winds will be experienced in the eastern regions of the country.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

South Africa: Labour court blocks mine union’s plan for industry-wide strike

RUSTENBURG (South Africa), South Africa’s labour court has rejected a request by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) to hold an industry-wide strike covering the platinum and gold sectors, Anglogold Ashanti, Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin said.

AMCU has been on strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations since mid-November in a pay dispute. It wanted to extend the strike to at least 11 other mining firms including Anglo American’s gold and platinum operations, Harmony Gold and Lonmin.

We welcome the decision of the court to grant an interdict against the secondary strike action called by AMCU. We maintain that a secondary strike by AMCU would not be in the best interests of our employees or the industry, Anglo American Platinum’s chief executive, Chris Griffith, said.

In a statement, Lonmin confirmed the judgment.

The Johannesburg Labour Court was not immediately available for comment, and AMCU spokesman Manzini Zungu did not respond to requests to confirm the ruling.

In February, the labour court ordered AMCU to suspend its plans for an industry-wide sympathy strike following an application by producers.

Sibanye-Stillwater said last month it could cut nearly 6,000 jobs at its gold mining operations in a potential restructuring plan as above-inflation cost increases to labour and electricity gnawed at its margins.

Job cuts are politically sensitive in Africa’s most industrialised economy, where the unemployment rate is more than 27 percent.

Data on Thursday showed gold production contracted for the 15th month in a row, shrinking by 22.5 percent in January, while platinum production was up 8.8 percent in the same period.

Source: Nam News Network

Armed Men Kill 9, Including Children, in North Nigeria

LAGOS, NIGERIA Armed men killed nine villagers, including children, and torched homes in northern Nigeria on Saturday, official sources said, the latest attack in a surge of violence in the Kaduna region.

“Kaduna state government has confirmed the killing of nine citizens by criminal elements who attacked Nandu in Sanga [district] in early hours of this morning,” state Gov. Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai said on Twitter.

“The security agencies have so far recovered nine corpses, including children. The attackers also burnt several houses in the village,” he added.

Kaduna sits between Nigeria’s majority Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south,

Southern Kaduna is one of many areas blighted by years-long violence between largely Muslim Fulani herders and indigenous Christian farmers over land and water rights.

The clashes have been aggravated by rapid population growth in Africa’s most populous country.

Ethnic, religious turn

The violence has recently taken on an ethnic and religious dimension, with politicians accused of inflaming the violence for political ends.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday condemned the latest violence. He urged all involved “to come to terms with the fact that mutual violence has no winners.”

“No responsible leader would go to bed happy to see his citizens savagely killing one another on account of ethnic and religious bigotry,” he added.

Source: Voice of America