Cyclone Idai one of Africa’s worst disasters: UN

New York: Cyclone Idai is one of the worst disasters to hit southern Africa in living memory, according to the United Nations.

The UN also confirmed that at least 360 people have lost their lives due to the calamity.

“What we want to do is underscore the sheer level of this crisis. This may be one of the worst national disasters to hit southern Africa in living memory and we will need to do quite a lot,” Xinhua quoted Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, as saying.

“Our humanitarian colleagues report that the UN’s humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, allocated USD 20 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund to complement the efforts of the governments of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi to provide assistance to communities affected,” he added.

“Lowcock noted that the allocation would be insufficient to respond to the expected rise in the level of need, and urged donors to contribute to the response,” the spokesman said.

In Malawi, nearly 1 million people have been affected while 56 deaths and 577 injuries have been recorded so far.
At least 202 people are confirmed dead in Mozambique, according to the government. Furthermore, more than 2,50,000 children alone have been affected in the country due to the cyclone. Around 82,700 people, meanwhile, are estimated to be displaced.

“In Zimbabwe, at least 102 deaths and over 200 injuries have been reported, and more than 200 people are reportedly still missing,” Haq said, adding that relief had reached the affected areas.

The death toll is expected to rise as rescue operations are underway across the states.

Meanwhile, Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi, on Wednesday, declared three days of national mourning after days of torrential rain and flooding left a trail of destruction across southeast Africa. The cyclone made landfall in the country last week, with wind speeds touching 200 kilometres.

Amongst other nations, India has become one of the first international responders to the Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. The first batch of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) material including food, medicines and clothing reached Port Beira of Mozambique on March 20.