CLOSE TO TWO MILLION CYCLONE VICTIMS NEED AID – GELMac raises 50,000 patacas to help Mozambique

– Marco Carvalho

The Lusophone Scouts Group of Macau (GELMac) joined forces with the local Diocese and the Friends of Mozambique Association and raised 50,000 patacas to help the victims of the cyclone that struck the center of Mozambique in the middle of March.

Idai – the strongest storm to affect the Eastern coast of Africa in more than a decade – left a trail of death and destruction in its wake, killing more than five hundred people in Mozambique alone. Beira, the country’s fourth biggest city, was severely hit by the cyclone. Idai also affected neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi, where it killed more than two hundred people. In addition to the deaths, the storm left thousands injured and tens of thousands more displaced in the three nations.

Faced with the magnitude of the devastation, the Lusophone Scouts Group joined forces with the Diocese of Macau and the Friends of Mozambique Association to offer some help. The three entities launched a fundraising campaign last weekend and managed to fetch up to almost 50,000 patacas, an amount that turned out to be much higher than what was initially expected by the local Catholic scouts.

Two religious services – Saturday’s evening Eucharist and Sunday’s morning Mass – were enough to collect 48, 680 patacas in donations: “It turned out much better than we expected,” a source familiar with the fundraising initiative confided to O CLARIM.

“The amount, collected outside the Cathedral at the end of Saturday’s evening mass and at the end of Sunday’s morning Eucharist has already been delivered to the Friends of Mozambique Association,” the source added.

A dozen and a half scouts took part in the fundraiser. The initiative was the second of its kind organized by GELMac in less than two years, albeit with better results. Two years ago, in July 2017, the Lusophone Scouts Group of Macau raised 17,800 patacas to help some of those who lost everything in the devastating fires that killed 66 and left more two hundred injured in the Portuguese municipality of Pedrogão Grande.

The initiative launched by the Diocese, the Lusophone scouts of Macau and the Friends of Mozambique Association was the first campaign of the kind organized in the Special Administrative Region with the aim of raising donations to help the victims of cyclone Idai.

In mid-March, days after the storm turned Beira upside down, Mozambique’s Consulate General in Macau organized its own philanthropic enterprise to help the survivors of the storm. Maputo’s diplomatic representative in Macau, Rafael Marques, announced at the time the opening of three bank accounts that are still accepting donations from those willing to help to rebuild the areas that were most severely affected by the cyclone.

Last week, the secretary-general of the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum for Economic Cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries, Xu Yingzhen, expressed her solidarity with the victims of the disaster at the end of a meeting with representatives of the eight Lusophone nations.

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