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UN Launches $282 Million Appeal for Mozambique Cyclone Relief


Workers offload food aid from a South African National Defence Force helicopter in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Buzi, near Beira, Mozambique, March 25, 2019.

The top U.N. aid chief says the United Nations is appealing for $282 million to help the victims of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.

Mark Lowcock said Monday the funds will be used for health, water, sanitation, and hygiene issues as well as food security and helping people regain their livelihoods.

The cyclone's heavy winds and rains killed at least 750 people in Mozambique and neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe and made hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

Survivors of Cyclone Idai in a makeshift shelter by the roadside near Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, March, 22, 2019.
Survivors of Cyclone Idai in a makeshift shelter by the roadside near Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, March, 22, 2019.

Lowcock said appeals for Malawi and Zimbabwe would be coming in the next few days.

"Mozambique is, we think, the worst hit, but there are very real needs in the other two countries as well," he said.

Also, Monday, the U.S. Department of Defense said it will provide $6.5 million in humanitarian assistance to Mozambique. It said the money will be used to fund 10 days of logistics support in Mozambique, including relief responders and airlifting aid materials.

The U.N. World Food Program said its director, David Beasley, will travel Tuesday to Mozambique to draw attention to the devastation caused by the cyclone.

People stand on the banks where the bridge was washed away, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, near the village of John Segredo, Mozambique, March 24, 2019.
People stand on the banks where the bridge was washed away, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, near the village of John Segredo, Mozambique, March 24, 2019.

A statement by the group said satellite imagery has shown that the cyclone has created what it called an "inland ocean" floodplain, measuring 125km by 25km, the size of Luxembourg.

The group said Beasley will meet with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday.

Nyusi has warned Mozambicans that the country could face more flooding with a forecast of rain until April and has also raised an alarm about the structural integrity of the Cahora Bassa Dam, the fourth-largest in Africa. He says the dam is above recommended levels and may need to be discharged, and has called for evacuations in areas around it.

Officials have also raised concerns about dams in neighboring countries such as Chagwa in Malawi and Kariba in Zimbabwe which are also close to their maximum capacity.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has also launched an appeal for $30.5 million to provide life-saving aid for 200,000 of the most vulnerable survivors in Mozambique.

A displaced family arrives after being rescued by a boat from a flooded area of Buzi district, 200 kilometers (120 miles) outside Beira, Mozambique, March 23, 2019.
A displaced family arrives after being rescued by a boat from a flooded area of Buzi district, 200 kilometers (120 miles) outside Beira, Mozambique, March 23, 2019.

IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy recently returned from a visit to the coastal city of Beira, which was about 90 percent destroyed, according to the Red Cross.

He said one shelter facility he saw in Beira was a disaster in the making.

"One of them I visited was in a school.Three thousand people in a school of 15 classrooms.And, the school itself is half flooded and there are only six toilets for all those people. So, it is not an exaggeration when I say that we are really sitting here on a water, sanitation, hygiene ticking bomb," he said.

Margaret Besheer at the United Nations, Carla Babb at the Pentagon, Lisa Schlein in Geneva, and Yanick Machel in Maputo contributed to this report.

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