Since the last earthquake hit Italy’s Emilia region killing 17 people, injuring 350 and leaving at least 14,000 homeless, no African government has sent any help to Africans in the area.
Emilia is one of Italy’s most productive regions with a high population of immigrants including Africans.
Now that the economy of the area is on its knees, immigrants, like most Italians have lost their jobs and homes.
Some foreign governments are closely monitoring the situation in Emilia and are helping their citizens in need of help.
Unfortunately this is not the case with African governments. All the Africans we have contacted in the earthquake hit areas have not received any support from their governments. So far, no African Embassy has sent any staff member to visit their citizens in Emilia.
And none has even announced a helpline number to be called by their citizens who need help.
Are African Embassies here aware that their citizens live in Emilia and have certainly been affected by the earthquake? Why have they decided to keep off?
It’s not the first time African Embassies are staying away from their citizens in need. One can give countless examples including when Africans are having problems with the law.
African Embassies should realise that one of their main duties is to protect and defend their citizens. Unfortunately they hardly do this.
Do you remember when an American student Amanda Knox was accused of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher? Amanda received the backing of the American Embassy during the case. I’m sure no African Embassy would be that close to their citizen fighting a legal battle.
Apart from being seen during community feasts, very few African diplomats are ever present when their citizens are in need of help.
African governments should stop the practice of abandoning their citizens abroad. Considering the contribution Africans abroad make to the continent’s development, these people deserve special treatment, especially when in trouble.
By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a