UN appeals for greater international support for Cyclone Idai victims

The World Food Programme says it is continuing to rush food and other assistance into the hardest hit areas affected by the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai.

The UN’s humanitarian food agency has already reached 20 000 people in desperate need and hope to scale up efforts in the next weeks to reach over half a million people amidst reports of looting in the city of Beira in Mozambique –a major port city and the country’s fourth largest.

Shortages of water and food have stoked frustrations in a region teetering on the brink due the breadth of destruction that has left hundreds confirmed dead, with numbers expected to rise sharply.

Meanwhile the United Nations Secretary General has called for greater international support to the region. In a statement read by his deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq, Antonio Gutteres said the UN and its agencies planned to continue scaling up their response.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and heart-wrenching images of human suffering we have seen since Cyclone Idai hit Beira, Mozambique on the night of 14 March, and then swept into Malawi and Zimbabwe, resulting in the massive disaster.”

“I have been encouraged by the efforts of national and international search and rescue teams, who have been working around the clock to save thousands of lives under dangerous and challenging conditions.”

“These heroes have not only rescued families off roofs, but are also delivering food, water purification tablets and other life-saving humanitarian assistance to survivors after communities have literally been washed away.”

The UN and humanitarian partners are scaling up the response with the initial funding from generous donors.

The UN has already released US$ 20 million to kick-start the response. However, far greater international support is needed.

With crops destroyed in the breadbasket of Mozambique more people are at risk of food insecurity in all three countries.

And homes, schools, hospitals and roads lie in ruin.