Members of parliaments belonging to the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) voted overwhelmingly for an emergency resolution calling for urgent action to support people of the countries of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe that were recently ravaged by Cyclone Idai recently.
A meeting of the world's parliaments, at which Namibia was also represented, took place from April 6 to 10 in Doha, Qatar.
The resolution sponsored by the Netherlands delegation at the assembly, urged for support for the most vulnerable people that were left with no clean water or food, especially women, children and the elderly. The tropical cyclone left a trail of destruction of land and infrastructure in the three countries, resulting in over a thousand deaths. Estimates have indicated that over US$2 billion is needed for recovery efforts.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi, who led the Namibian parliament delegation to the IPU Assembly, was fully supportive of the resolution in both the Sadc and Africa Group of countries' meetings that preceded the assembly and during the sessions.
In an intervention on the item during a session of the assembly, Katjavivi noted that Sadc has so far contributed over US$500 000 in assistance." The President of Namibia and the current Chairperson of Sadc, Dr Hage Geingob has said that the economic cost and social impact of the cyclone to the affected countries and indeed the entire region are immeasurable.
Sadc has contributed US$500 000 to assist the three affected countries," said Katjavivi.
He further implored parliaments to adopt the emergency item to be able to find a solution to the humanitarian crisis. "We call upon the parliaments and countries represented here at the 140th IPU Assembly to assist us through the adoption of this emergency resolution and through practical assistance to our brothers and sisters in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe," pleaded the Speaker.
The resolution was subsequently adopted at the conclusion of the assembly.
IPU is a global organisation of parliaments founded over 130 years ago. It comprises 178 national member parliaments and 12 regional parliamentary bodies.
The Speaker was accompanied by fellow lawmakers, Chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah Williams, Heather Sibungo, Elma Dienda, Phillipus Katamelo and Rosalia Shilenga.
*George Sanzila works in the information sub-division of the National Assembly.