ECOWAS Supports Cape Verde Volcanic Eruption Victims



The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Commission is supporting victims of volcanic eruption in Cape Verde with $300,000

THE  ECOWAS Commission has donated $300,000 to Cape Verde to help alleviate the effects of a devastating volcanic eruption that destroyed two villages, swept over vast farm land and displaced more than 1,000 people in the country’s Fogo Island. The cheque was presented on behalf of Kadré Desire Ouédraogo, Commission’s president by Fatimata Dia Sow, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender to Maria de Jesus Miranda, Cape Verde’s secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, in the capital Praia on Monday, February 2.

The commissioner said the humanitarian assistance “is an expression of our traditional solidarity and deep concern for the pains suffered by the victims and a further recognition of the burdens disasters of this nature place on governments.” The commission and the entire Community, she said, “commiserate with the Government and people Cape Verde,” over the losses from the intermittent eruption of volcano Pico do Fogo from November 2014, which is considered the biggest over decades.

Sow accompanied by her colleague in charge of Information and Communication Technology, Isaias Barret Rosa, a Cape Verdean, said in spite of its limited resources and the myriad challenges faced by the region, ranging from the Ebola epidemic to terrorism and political conflicts, the Commission would continue to support member states and community citizens needing humanitarian assistance.

Sow (L), presents the cheque of US$300,000 to Miranda, on behalf of Cape Verde
Sow (L), presents the cheque of US$300,000 to Miranda, on behalf of Cape Verde

She acknowledged efforts by the Cape Verdean government to alleviate the sufferings of victims and pledged the Commission’s commitment to accompany the country on the path for full recovery and reconstruction.

After receiving the cheque at a ceremony attended by government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and officials of ECOWAS institutions in Cade Verde, Miranda expressed the gratitude of the government and people of the country to the Commission.

She said the gesture of goodwill and solidarity is a demonstration of the true spirit of regional integration and the high esteem the country is held in the community.

The Secretary of State reaffirmed Cape Verde’s strong commitment to the ECOWAS ideals and the realisation of the objectives of socio-economic development of Member States working hand-in-hand for the benefit of an integrated community. The ECOWAS delegation also met with the national coordinator of the Fogo island crisis, Gen. Antero Matos, who updated the team on the government’s efforts since the volcanic eruption.

He explained that while the national preparedness mechanism facilitated damage limitation, the major challenges now are the resettlement of the displaced citizens in permanent homes and the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, including roads and schools.

Pico do Fogo volcano erupts
Pico do Fogo volcano erupts

According to the coordinator, the Fogo island community, located in the country’s most fertile agricultural land and booming tourism industry has lost much of its source of livelihood to the devastating volcano, which is still active, but with reduced intensity.

He expressed the country’s gratitude to the international community for its positive response and support, noting however, that the affected community and the nation at large remain in a constant state of alert for any emergency, even though volcanism and geology experts project that the worst is over.

Sow reiterated the ECOWAS Commission’s message of encouragement and solidarity with Cape Verde during this difficult period, adding that the Commission would continue to monitor the situation for necessary follow up until complete recovery and reconstruction is achieved.

She expressed optimism that the country would come out of the present difficulty stronger and with useful lessons to share with other member states in the management of natural disaster.

Cape Verde, an archipelago comprising 10 islands, nine of which are inhabited by a combined estimated population of half of million people, experiences occasional natural disasters including flooding and volcanic eruptions. The last major volcanic eruption on Fogo Island was in 1995.

— Feb. 16, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT


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