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How To Help Tropical Cyclone Victims In Mozambique, Zimbabwe And Malawi (#GotBitcoin?)

How To Help Tropical Cyclone Victims In Mozambique, Zimbabwe And Malawi (#GotBitcoin?)

Mozambique says cholera cases up to 271 in cyclone-hit city. How To Help Tropical Cyclone Victims In Mozambique, Zimbabwe And Malawi (#GotBitcoin?)

Mozambique says cholera cases now up to 271 in cyclone-hit city as vaccines are rushed in.

Cholera cases among cyclone survivors in Mozambique have jumped to 271, authorities said, a figure that nearly doubled from the previous day.

The Portuguese news agency Lusa cited national health director Ussein Isse, who declared the outbreak of the acute diarrheal disease on Wednesday with just five cases.

So far no cholera deaths have been confirmed, the report said. Another Lusa report said the death toll in central Mozambique from the cyclone that hit on March 14 had inched up to 501. Authorities have warned the toll is highly preliminary as flood waters recede and reveal more bodies.

The cholera cases have been discovered in the port city of Beira, whose half-million residents and especially those in crowded, poor neighborhoods are at particular risk.

Children and other patients curled up on bare beds at a treatment center in Beira on Saturday, some with anxious parents by their side. They had intravenous drips to help replace fluids.

Doctors Without Borders has said it is seeing some 200 likely cholera cases per day in the city, where relief workers are hurrying to restore the damaged water system and bring in additional medical assistance.

The World Health Organization has said some 900,000 cholera vaccine doses are expected to arrive on Monday, with a vaccination campaign starting later in the week.

Cholera is spread by contaminated food and water and can kill within hours if not treated. The disease is a major concern for the hundreds of thousands of cyclone survivors in the southern African nation now living in squalid conditions in camps, schools or damaged homes. Some drink from contaminated wells or filthy, stagnant water.

As health responders stress the need for better disease surveillance, the United Nations’ deputy humanitarian coordinator in Mozambique, Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, has said all cases of diarrhea are being treated as though they are cholera.

Cholera is endemic to the region, and “it breaks out fast and it travels extremely fast,” he told reporters on Friday.

Doctors Without Borders has said other suspected cholera cases have been reported outside Beira in the badly hit areas of Buzi, Tica and Nhamathanda but the chance of spread in rural areas is smaller because people are more dispersed.

Mozambican officials have said Cyclone Idai destroyed more than 50 health centers in the region, complicating response efforts.

The cyclone also killed at least 259 people in Zimbabwe and 56 in Malawi.

The United Nations has said some 1.8 million people need urgent help across the sodden, largely rural region.

Here are some of the organizations helping those impacted by tropical cyclone Idai. How To Help Tropical Cyclone Victims In Mozambique, Zimbabwe And Malawi


Americares has deployed a team to Mozambique to assess health needs and coordinate emergency shipments of medicine and relief supplies for survivors. You can donate to Americares Worldwide Disaster Relief Fund here to support its response to the cyclone.

CARE has emergency experts in Mozambique assessing the damage while providing search and rescue support around the hard-hit city of Beira. They are working to provide much-needed supplies to the area, including tents, buckets, tarps, blankets and hygiene kits. The organization also has teams on the ground in Zimbabwe and Malawi to assess the needs of the affected communities. You can make a donation here to support their efforts in southern Africa.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres has teams in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi assessing the damage, trying to reach hard-hit communities and working to deliver medical kits as well as water and sanitation supplies to those in need. You can make a general donation here.

Humanity & Inclusion has 40 staff members on the ground, including a small team in Beira. The group has worked in Mozambique since 1986, tackling issues stemming from the country’s 25-year-long civil war with a focus on people with disabilities. Staff members are currently working to clear roads to rural communities cut off from humanitarian aid in the wake of the cyclone. You can make a donation to support their efforts here.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has an emergency response unit in Beira that will provide sanitation for 20,000 people every day. Another emergency response unit is expected to arrive in the coming days and will provide clean water for 15,000 people a day. Two emergency field hospitals are also en route to Mozambique to provide urgently-needed medical care. You can donate to their Mozambique campaign here.

The International Rescue Committee has launched an emergency response for people displaced by the cyclone in eastern Zimbabwe. The organization has teams on the ground in the hardest-hit areas providing medical care and emergency supplies for the most vulnerable. You can donate to support their efforts here.

Oxfam has teams assessing the needs of people worst affected in all three nations. You can make a general donation here.

Save the Children has delivered at least 51 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Mozambique, including tarps, buckets and tents. The organization is also working to provide displaced families with kits for water purification and hygiene. An estimated 350,000 children in Martinique alone are said to be in dire need of immediate relief. You can donate to support their efforts here.


Meanwhile: Disaster-Aid Bill Snags On Senate Hurdles Over Puerto Rico Issue

Democrats and Republicans at odds over additional support for the island.

A broad disaster-aid package failed to clear procedural hurdles in the Senate on Monday as Democrats and Republicans in the chamber quarreled over how much funding to provide to hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

The $13.5 billion bill, drafted by Republicans, provides money for recovery in areas across the U.S., including Florida and North Carolina, that were hit with hurricanes last year as well as for the swaths of California devastated by the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history.

But the $600 million the bill provides in nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico, which was hit by hurricanes in 2017, is insufficient for Senate Democrats, who are calling for more than $450 million in additional aid for the island.

President Trump has opposed providing more aid to Puerto Rico, arguing that officials there haven’t properly spent previous disaster funds. Mr. Trump late Monday revived his criticism of Puerto Rico’s political leaders, tweeting that the government “can’t do anything right, the place is a mess—nothing works.” He singled out as “crazed and incompetent” the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has clashed with Mr. Trump.

Still, Mr. Trump has indicated that he would sign the Senate GOP legislation and the additional aid it provides to the U.S. territory, according to White House and Senate aides.

The impasse has left both parties accusing the other of playing politics with recovery operations in areas hit by tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and other disasters. Severe flooding last month in several Midwestern states, including Iowa and Nebraska, has added fresh urgency to the legislation, which has been stalled for months.

“This is no time for my colleagues across the aisle to prioritize a political fight with the president ahead of the urgent needs of communities across America,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said on the Senate floor Monday. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) called Republicans “cruel and nasty” for opposing more aid for Puerto Rico.

Senate rules require 60 members to vote to cut off debate on a bill, meaning bipartisan support is needed to move toward a vote on the actual legislation. The GOP enjoys a 53-member majority in the chamber.

The Senate also didn’t muster enough support to advance to a vote on a similar disaster-aid package the Democratic-led House passed in January. The House package provides $14.2 billion in aid, including additional money for Puerto Rico on top of what the GOP legislation provides. Democrats in both chambers favor it.

Because House Democrats passed the legislation before the flooding hit the Midwest, it wouldn’t provide funds to areas hit by that disaster, according to Senate GOP aides. Democrats have offered to amend the House legislation to include new aid for the Midwest.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he would continue to work toward earning 60 votes on the legislation. He said he plans to attempt to add amendments the House Democratic bill.

“This is just the beginning,” Mr. Shelby said. Asked what the immediate next move would be, Mr. Shelby said he didn’t know.

“We know there will be some more steps,” he said.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has placed fiscal controls over aid distributed to Puerto Rico, citing concerns about “fiscal irregularities” in how the island spends the money.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has denied that the territory hasn’t properly spent federal funds. In a statement Sunday, Mr. Rosselló said that Puerto Rico doesn’t receive as much funding as U.S. states and is in “desperate need of support as a result of decades of federal underfunding.”

“These statements lack empathy, but more so they lack the true facts of the matter,” Mr. Rosselló said in an interview with CNN last week, responding to Mr. Trump’s comments. “I just think we have to end this battle of words and just recognize we’re not his political adversaries, we’re his citizens.”

In Zimbabwe, Promise of Mobile Money Fades When the Power Goes Out 

Ecocash, the cellphone platform used for eight out of 10 financial transactions, regularly breaks down.

DOMBOSHAVA, Zimbabwe—With the crowd behind him getting restless, Silas Hwamiridza frantically punched his cellphone’s keys, trying to make a payment for gas at his local station.

But the 200 Zimbabwean dollar (around $20) transaction on the country’s popular mobile-money platform EcoCash wasn’t going through. After a few more attempts—and three hours of waiting in line wasted—the 46-year-old accountant pulled out of the station with a low tank and no way to get to work.

“The attendant asked me to pay cash, which I didn’t have,” said Mr. Hwamiridza, shaking his head. “This country has gone to the dogs.”

More than most other places in the world, this southern African nation with a long history of monetary dysfunction has staked its financial system on mobile money, which allows funds to change hands through the touch of a few buttons on an old-school cellphone or through a smartphone app.

But now, amid power cuts lasting for up to 17 hours a day, EcoCash breaks down frequently. The outages are blocking everyday economic activity and exacerbating a financial crisis that has left Zimbabwe’s government bankrupt and some five million people, about a third of its population, in need of food aid.

Eight out of 10 transactions in Zimbabwe—from buying milk to filling up a car or settling a utility bill—are done via cellphones, almost exclusively on EcoCash.

“If you are relying on one payment platform, the whole country comes to a hold” when it breaks down, said Evonia Muzondo, senior research analyst with Harare-based brokerage firm Imara Edwards Securities. Government and regulators “shouldn’t have allowed it to come to this point at all,” she added.

EcoCash is operated by local telecommunications platform Econet Wireless , which has said that EcoCash’s troubles, and wider disruptions of its network, are due to the power cuts implemented by Zimbabwe’s state utility, which on many days provides electricity only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The company said 1,300 of its base stations are running on diesel generators, an unsustainable practice with the cost of fuel having risen around sevenfold this year.

It says it needs $600 million to upgrade to solar power generation and warned that it might have to take unspecified “drastic measures” should the government fail to resolve the power cuts quickly.

Econet’s chief executive, Douglas Mboweni, recently tweeted a photo of a man looking frustrated while speaking into his cellphone. The heading: “What you feel, we feel it too. It’s not business as usual.” He didn’t respond to a request for comment and the company declined to comment beyond its public statements.

EcoCash’s dominance is a result of the dramatic mismanagement of Zimbabwe’s currency, which has its roots in the final days of longtime President Robert Mugabe in 2017. Short on U.S. dollars—the country’s official currency following devastating hyperinflation in the early 2000s—the government once again resorted to printing money to cover salaries and other costs, this time by issuing Zimbabwean treasury bills to its banks.

The result was a steep devaluation of “digital” dollars in people’s banks accounts, compared with U.S. dollars, which were nearly impossible to get on the formal market. With cash dollars in short supply, EcoCash kept the economy ticking, facilitating digital payments for even small transactions in a country where few people own credit or debit cards.

In February, the central bank abandoned its dollar peg, effectively reintroducing a national currency, although there are only a limited number of Zimbabwean bills and coins in circulation.

“We are more or less a cashless economy,” said Ashok Chakravarti, an economist based in Harare who believes that the EcoCash outages will hurt Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product, which the International Monetary Fund expects to shrink by 5.2% this year.

A government austerity program and limits on issuing T-bills haven’t stopped the new Zimbabwean dollar from losing value. Inflation spiked to 176% in June. Last month, the finance minister announced Zimbabwe’s statistics agency would stop publishing annual inflation data until February, saying it was distorted by the reintroduction of a local currency.

Few people have trust in the ability and willingness of Mr. Mugabe’s successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to overhaul the country. In recent weeks, security forces have beaten up protesters and arrested opposition and union activists. Several government critics say they have been abducted and tortured, allegations that officials have dismissed as fake news.

Amid the crackdown, Zimbabwe has failed to secure funds to pay overdue loans from the World Bank and other multilateral financial institutions, disqualifying it from getting an IMF bailout to cushion government cutbacks.

Mr. Mnangagwa and his finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, have said the reintroduction of a local currency is a painful but necessary step to restore the economy. They are blaming the power cuts on a drought that has ravaged parts of the country and left its hydroelectric power stations with too little water to generate enough electricity.

Municipal water systems have broken down, partly because the power cuts have idled pumps, and many Zimbabweans are now fetching waters from public wells. Some factories and businesses have moved to night shifts to take advantage of the times when there is electricity.

The EcoCash outages are adding to the struggles. With more businesses demanding cash payments, funds stored in EcoCash’s “mobile wallets” have started losing value. Black-market traders are now charging premiums of up to 40% for exchanging EcoCash for actual cash. Last week, EcoCash said it has suspended more than 1,000 of its sales agents for demanding extra payments in return for cash.

“EcoCash is what everyone is using,” said a woman, who identified herself as Mbuya va Rosy, or Rosy’s Grandma in the local Shona language. She was one of several women trying to sell vegetables, candy and cigarettes on the side of the road, not far from the station where Mr. Hwamiridza unsuccessfully tried to buy gas. On days where EcoCash isn’t functioning, Mbuya va Rosy said she is struggling to feed her family.

On a Friday evening, Noel Sibanda, a 28-year-old salesman at a body shop, was in a Harare pub, hoping to while away the hours until electricity returned at home. But with EcoCash once again down, his nighttime beer proved elusive.

“We now fetch water from wells and spend long hours in darkness,” he said. “I feel as if Harare is turning out to be a rural village.” How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical,How To Help Tropical


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