UN calls for more donations to help victims of Cyclone Idai

22 Mar 19

The devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in southeast Africa is “getting bigger by the hour”, the United Nations has warned, as it calls for immediate funding and support. 

The region has been hit by widespread flooding and devastation affecting Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, after a cyclone this month.  

The president of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi has called it “a humanitarian disaster of great proportion”.

Although floodwaters have reportedly begun to recede in Zimbabwe and Malawi, allowing some people to return home, the World Food Programme warned that Mozambique is facing “a major humanitarian emergency that is getting bigger by the hour”.

In a statement yesterday, the UN said at least 1,000 people in Mozambique were feared dead. More than 1.7 million people were on the path of the cyclone in the country, according to a WFP spokesperson.

Around 920,000 people have been affected in Malawi, with some 82,000 displaced. In Zimbabwe, some 15,000 people have been displaced.

“This is shaping up to be one of the worst weather-related disasters ever to hit the southern hemisphere,” said Clare Nullis, from the UN's weather agency.

UN agencies have launched an appeal for “immediate funding” and logistical aid for those affected by the cyclone, who remain without access to food or clean water. UNICEF on Tuesday launched an appeal for $20.3m to support the response in the three countries.

“We are talking about a massive disaster right now where hundreds of thousands -in the millions of people – [are] potentially affected,” said Jens Laerke from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“We need all the logistical support that we can possibly get.”

The UK said it would give a total of £18m to the disaster, including for food, water and shelter for the survivors.

The EU has released €3.5m in emergency aid for the three countries.

In Mozambique, the government's estimates put the number of those affected by the cyclone at 600,000 in the provinces of Sofala, Manica, Zambézia, Inhambane and Tete.

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