A swath of destruction
International | Cyclone Idai could be worst ever disaster for the Southern Hemisphere
by Mindy Belz
Posted 3/20/19, 02:48 pm
MOZAMBIQUE: UN officials say Cyclone Idai may be the worst ever disaster to strike the Southern Hemisphere. Last Friday’s storm packed 125-mph winds with heavy rain, and has left a swath of destruction across Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe affecting millions.
George Greene IV, president of U.S.-based Water Mission, told me Wednesday morning that water from devastating floods isn’t going down, leaving large communities without power or usable water and residents trapped and for now unreachable. Mozambique’s port city of Beira—population 500,000—is now an island in the ocean. “All water systems are down because power in the area is down,” said Greene. His team is airlifting water treatment equipment, generators, and chlorination kits to the area and has 20 staff members on the ground in Malawi to fortify projects the group began there during 2015 flooding.
Jamie LeSueur, leading a Red Cross assessment team into Beira, said, “The situation is terrible. The scale of devastation is enormous. It seems that 90 percent of the area is completely destroyed.”
KUWAIT: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday began a Middle East trip that includes stops in Kuwait, Israel, and Lebanon. On Monday afternoon, I participated in a small roundtable interview with Pompeo by phone that included hard questions (which he answered) but yielded not a lot of intel about the trip’s mission. CNN (citing as “universally relevant” a topic it rarely covers: religious freedom in the Middle East) and others appear more interested in who was on that call than the substance of the trip (or Cyclone Idai).
SYRIA: Pompeo said Syria would be a topic of discussion in his meetings in the Middle East, with the U.S. military now planning to leave up to 1,000 troops there near an area where U.S.-backed fighters on Tuesday overtook an ISIS encampment (surrender here). “We want a stable outcome between Turks and forces in Syria,” Pompeo told me, stressing that U.S participation in reconstruction efforts will depend on Syria’s Assad government, and its Russian and Iranian allies, adhering to the political peace process endorsed by the UN Security Council.
Both Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Turkey have issued threats against the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, now that it has regained control of the Euphrates River region. ISIS, meanwhile, issued an audio recording saying it remains a force to be reckoned with.
AFGHANISTAN: The national cricket team stunned fans and heartened fellow countrymen by winning its first-ever match in the Test format, the sport’s highest level of competition.
CHINA: The race to install 5G networks is turning into a Cold War between the United States and China.
NICARAGUA: “Hear Nicaragua’s cry,” opposition leaders told reporters in Paris, as nearly a year of protests has failed to overturn Daniel Ortega’s regime or garner European Union sanctions. More than 700 people arrested last year remain unaccounted for.
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