The city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which has a high African and Latino population, was devastated over the weekend by Tornados which killed 4 people. We, as Africans, need to be able to respond to crisis when it happens, without the help of any government assistance.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Four people were killed and scores of homes were flattened on Saturday when a tornado ripped through this city in southeastern Mississippi in the darkness of early morning, officials said.
The City of Hattiesburg said on its Twitter account that four people had died after the tornado came through the city and surrounding area. The tornado was part of a wall of stormy weather traveling across the region, bringing rain and unstable conditions.
The city’s mayor, Johnny DuPree, signed an emergency declaration for the city, which, in addition to the deaths, reported “significant injuries” to residents and damage to structures. The city also said on Twitter that Hattiesburg firefighters and police officers were going door to door in a rescue effort.
Greg Flynn of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said rescuers were still searching for victims in the area hit by the storm. He said “massive damage” had been reported in a three-county area that was struck by the tornado at around 4 a.m.
Photos and television images showed the intensity of the damage. Cars were flipped over and sometimes piled atop one another while parts of homes were torn into shards of wood and debris. Trees were pulled from their roots and thrown across roads.
As dawn broke over the city, rescue workers and residents walked down debris-strewn streets.
The three counties affected are Forrest, Lamar and Perry. Flash flood warnings were also in effect for northern Forrest and Lamar counties, as well as the counties of Jones and Marion. The National Weather Service said three to five inches of rain had already fallen, increasing the risk of flooding. More rain — one to two inches — was possible.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol said that Interstate 59 north of Hattiesburg had been closed because of debris. Downed power lines and debris were reported over a wide area and residents were asked to avoid traveling.
On Tuesday, October 4 2016, Hurricane Matthew, the strongest hurricane to hit the region in more than ten years, smashed into Haiti with 145 mile per hour winds and torrential rain.
Now, in the aftermath of the storm, the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis has been hard to take in.
More than 1,000 people are dead. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed. More than 1 million people are in need of food, water, medical treatment, shelter or some other form of humanitarian assistance.
Africans in Haiti, still reeling from the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that devastated the island and took the lives of more than 220,000 people, are now bracing themselves to deal with a surge in cholera, a waterborne disease the people of Haiti have most recently been battling since 2010 when UN troops brought it to the island following the January earthquake.
The tragic scenes of this most recent crisis in Haiti that have been brought to our television screens, newspapers and computers are eerily reminiscent of the devastation Africans in the US experienced up close during and after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
In both Haiti and New Orleans, Africans lived in communities with poor infrastructure, leaving them unnecessarily vulnerable to storms and other natural disasters.
In New Orleans, the levees which should have held back waters from Lake Pontchartrain “collapsed because they were junk” according to an article in the Washington Post, creating the conditions for the literal drowning of the majority African city.
Despite Haiti’s wealth of human and natural resources, its infrastructure is poor by any standard. Even prior to last week’s hurricane, many people lacked access to clean water, electricity, and medical facilities. Only about one third have access to improved sanitation and many people live in slums with poorly constructed homes and roofs made of corrugated metal.
In both New Orleans and Haiti, the despair and helplessness of African people were on full display for the world to see, invoking pity and charity as a solution to the crises.
Organizations like the American Red Cross, which brought in half a billion dollars in resources from the Haiti earthquake alone have been shown to be the worst kind of opportunists. In 2015 an NPR and ProPublica expose brought to the fore the fact that the organization built only six permanent homes in Haiti with those resources.
The sad reality is that no matter where we find ourselves as African people, we are much more vulnerable to natural disasters than almost any other people. This is so because no matter where we have been forcibly dispersed, no matter the nationality of the president, governor or mayor, we are a colonially dominated people.
There is no government of our own working in our interests, making sure that our mineral, human and other resources are used to protect and defend us from our enemies or from a hurricane.
There is no government making sure that we produce nurses, doctors and medical facilities for our people. There is no government making sure that our engineers build strong bridges and buildings that can withstand what we know nature can sometimes throw our way or that we have sufficient and good sanitation and transportation systems and electrical grid.
Neither charity, pity nor prayer will change the material conditions that have been imposed on our people. Only by consolidating the dispersed African Nation in our struggle for self-determination and self-government will we ensure our collective safety as a people whether in Haiti, New Orleans, in the Continent of Africa or any other place African people are located.
This is the mission that has been set out by the African People’s Socialist Party which leads the Uhuru Movement. This is the goal that must be struggled for and won.
As a part of the strategy to win our people into organization and unity with this mission, the All African People’s Development & Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) has an important mandate.
Established in 2007 in St. Petersburg, FL, AAPDEP promotes the understanding that Africans, no matter where we are located are one people who must contribute our energy, skills and resources toward overturning the conditions that have been imposed on us.
One of the most important features of AAPDEP that distinguish ours from other approaches is that we challenge African people to take responsibility for changing our material conditions and for building our collective future. We reject the concept of charity as a solution for our people. Although charity is the most popular and accepted way of dealing with the objective conditions in Africa and African communities around the world, it often demoralizes Africans, the recipients as well as other Africans who witness it. Furthermore, charity does nothing to transform the dismal reality of African people, and instead often works as a cover for the imperialist-imposed root cause of the symptom the charity attempts to address.
AAPDEP branches and membership exist in several US cities including Houston, Texas, Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA and Huntsville, AL where our headquarters is located. In Africa itself, AAPDEP has one of our largest branches in Sierra Leone, West Africa and is actively seeking to organize branches everywhere African people are.
We have built African led maternity centers, trained hundreds of community health workers, built community rainwater harvesting systems, established community gardens and farms and built African Internationalist educational programs for both children and adults.
In 2014, AAPDEP established Project Black Ankh (PBA) as a response to the recent Ebola crisis in West Africa. Our forces in Sierra Leone provided food, water, medicines and counseling support to more than 40 survivors of Ebola and their families.
From the beginning, the vision for PBA has always been for it to become the African Nation’s emergency response organization. It would be OUR Red Cross. No more would Africans have to sit idly by watching as our people perish from one imperialist-imposed crisis after another.
No more would Africans have to join in the half-hearted efforts of others to save our people from flood waters, health care epidemics or other humanitarian crises. African people could be sure that our hard earned money would go where it was needed and not into the accounts and retirement funds of others living at our expense and off our misery.
In an effort to develop the economic infrastructure of AAPDEP which would provide the foundation for PBA and other important programs, we built Zenzele Consignment a clothing resale store which opened its doors in August of this year.
In September of 2016, with the store opening behind us, AAPDEP began working to consolidate the leadership and initial plans for establishing Project Black Ankh as a permanent program of the AAPDEP Health Care Commission.
As Hurricane Matthew loomed, and then later left its path of destruction in Haiti, AAPDEP leadership felt the painful criticism of our people’s lack of National Response, as we have assumed for ourselves the responsibility of organizing our people for that purpose.
There is much to do. We are not where our people need us to be with the establishment of Project Black Ankh. Africans, however, are stepping up to contribute their skills and resources toward this effort.
An overall plan for mobilizing, training and deploying medical and other personnel through PBA is being consolidated along with the plan for African community-led funding.
AAPDEP plans to officially launch Project Black Ankh at our 2017 conference.
For now, we are calling on Africans in public health, African nurses, doctors and others who have experience in international emergency response or related skills to join AAPDEP at DevelopmentForAfrica.org and help us to forward our work to build Project Black Ankh.
We can and must have the ability to respond to African suffering anywhere in the world. While African Nationhood is the ultimate solution, the Black Ankh will be an important tool in the hands of the African masses, allowing us to step out of the helplessness that we experience today as we watch our people suffer needlessly, hoping that others will intervene on our behalf.
We must plan and work to make Project Black Ankh a powerful reality because as our beloved Marcus Garvey reminds us,“Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people. Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom.”
Join AAPDEP Today!
Build Project Black Ankh!
On Sunday, August 9th, Daniel Conteh was appointed AAPDEP’s Sierra Leone National Director, a position which places him on the International Executive Committee.
Danielobtained his Teaching Certificate in 2000 from the Freetown Teacher’s College and earned his Higher Teacher Certificate Secondary with a specialization in Agriculture and Community Development in 2007.
In 2008 he pursued a degree at the Evangelical College of Theology in Community Development Studies and graduated in 2011.
Danielhas been instrumental in developing and carrying out AAPDEP’s most recent programs in the country including our Ebola initiative, Project Black Ankh (PBA).
As a part of PBA, Daniel helped to train more than 40 community health workers in the prevention of Ebola Virus Disease and in psychosocial counseling methods.
Daniel recognizes his responsibility to organize the masses of African people in Sierra Leone and around the world and works hard to promote AAPDEP as a vehicle through which Africans can collectivize our skills and resources for African self-reliance and self-determination.
We salute Daniel for his hard work and dedication to the development of Africa and African communities around the world and look forward to his continued contribution to AAPDEP’s success.
Be like Daniel! Contribute your skills to making a better world for African people.
JOIN AAPDEP TODAY!
SIERRA LEONE: The following is a Project Black Ankh: Ebola Response in Sierra Leone, update from AAPDEP forces. It describes the community outreach and sensitization programs initiated by AAPDEP as a way to educate communities about some of the real threats of this disease. This involved radio and street outreach.
March 26-April 26: Radio Sensitization
Two radio stations were targeted, African Young Voices Radio (AYV) and Star Radio because of their wider courage in Sierra Leone.
Key messages in the jingles includes prevention from Ebola and fight against stigmatization of Ebola survivors:
“This message is brought to you from All African Empowerment and Development Project (AAPDEP) who have lunched project Ankh to fight against Ebola disease in Sierra Leone.”
The jingles were aired for a period of one month from 26th March – 26th April 2015 in those two radio stations as a sensitization campaign.
April 1, 2015: Community Drama
SIERRA LEONE: In February 2015 AAPDEP medical personnel trained forty Sierra Leoneans in the prevention of EVD and various outreach and counseling methods as preparation for its community outreach campaign working to spread the message of respect and positive reintegration of EVD affected community members.
With Phase II now in full swing, AAPDEP is focusing on distributing food, medical supplies for affected families as well as accessing media to conduct public education around Ebola in the Allentown and Lungi communities. Thanks to your donations so far.
In the coming months, AAPDEP plans to organize EVD survivors into our already established community farming, educational and economic development programs as part of its long-term approach to tackling the challenges they face.
The ongoing success of this project will be helped greatly by the plans that AAPDEP has to open Zenzele Consignment Boutique in August 2015, which will serve to fund this and other projects of AAPDEP. This institution will embody AAPDEP’s self-reliance, imperative for developing African communities around the world.
My name is Angella M. Bangura, I was one of the participants that attended the Ebola workshop as a member of AAPDEP. The workshop started at 12:00pm and ended at 5:30pm. During the period I learned a lot about this deadly virus, Ebola. There were facilitators that taught us about the following
We were divided into three groups and they are A, B, and C group A which was Omali group, group B which is Biko and group C which was Marcus Garvey. I was fortunate to be in Biko group, in our group we were seven (7) in number, this groupings was done in order for us to work as a team and after any session one facilitator asked us to write on the topic taught and to select one person in the group to make a presentation.
The workshop really helped me a lot, because it has expanded my thinking about Ebola and it also makes me understand how to protect myself and my community as a whole.
We’ve already collected over $4500 and now that we’re in Phase II we will need to raise $9500 which will help to complete this Phase and transition into Phases III and IV.of this project.