The United Nations in Mozambique pays respect for the victims of Cyclone Idai and extends its condolences to the families of the victims and to the people and Government of Mozambique. As the nation mourns, we express our solidarity with the Mozambique authorities and, together with humanitarian partners, we are rapidly scaling-up our support to the Government-led response following the catastrophic impacts of the Cyclone Idai in the central parts of the country since early March.
“The United Nations and the humanitarian community in Mozambique stand with the people and the Government of this country at this tragic and heart-wrenching time,” said Mr. Marcoluigi Corsi, UN Resident Coordinator ad interim in Mozambique. “On behalf of the United Nations Family in Mozambique, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy with those whose loved ones perished in this national catastrophe or were injured, missing or affected in one way or another”, he said. “We have mobilized emergency teams and supplies and are working day and night to get aid to people who are in dire need in the areas hardest-hit by this natural disaster”.
The Cyclone Idai has had a devastating three-fold impact since early March. The weather system brought heavy rains and floods to Tete and Zambezia provinces in early March, affecting at least 141,000 people, with 202 deaths recorded and 111 people injured. When Cyclone Idai made landfall on 14 March, it brought devastation and destruction to the port city of Beira – home to more than 500,000 people – and surrounding areas. Following landfall, it has continued to bring heavy rains. Flood waters are rising and the Pungoe and Buzi rivers have burst their banks.
“We are in a rush to get relief items to where they need to be,” said Mr. Corsi. “Beira city remains inaccessible by road, and many communities have been stranded as the flood waters have risen. With the Government’s leadership, we are exerting all efforts to reach people wherever and however we can. We are together and we will leave no one behind”.
Humanitarian partners have rapidly mobilized aid workers and vital supplies to support the Government-led response to the triple impact of the Cyclone Idai. The World Food Programme (WFP) airlifted 20 tonnes of high energy biscuits into Beira on 17 March to assist more than 22,000 people, and has already started supporting affected people In Sofala, Zambezia and Tete, with Manica to follow. A flight from the Dubai Humanitarian Response Depot carrying vital supplies - including 13,700 tarps, 3,500 jerry cans, 1,500 shelter tool kits and medicines for UN and NGO operations – landed in Maputo on 18 March. The National Institute of Disasters Management (INGC) is providing assistance to 3,800 families in accommodation centers in Sofala Province. WFP has begun distributions in Beira and multiple health partners are supporting urgent response in impacted health facilities, including Beira Central Hospital. According to UNFPA, the situation may lead to high risk of morbidity and mortality of pregnant and lactating women and newborns due to unhygienic conditions, poor availability and difficulty in access to care. Moreover, the possibility of unwanted pregnancies and HIV/STIs and gender-based violence may increase.
The UN and humanitarian partners have appealed for an initial US$40.8 million to provide critical emergency relief to 400,000 people who are estimated to be affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai. These figures are expected to rise in the days ahead as the full extent of the damage becomes known.