About 1.6 million children impacted by Cyclone Idai in southeast Africa are in dire need of assistance, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Saturday in an international appeal for help.
The storm affected one million children in Mozambique, another 443,000 in Malawi and 130,000 in Zimbabwe, UNICEF said, adding that the needs for especially vulnerable children were “massive,” including for health care, nutrition and water.
More than 1,000 people died in the storm that hit the three nations, with more than 600 fatalities, 4,600 cases of cholera and 7,500 of malaria just in Mozambique. “The heavy rains have flooded fields and crops have been destroyed. Electricity and water supplies have been impacted by the rains and floods and other critical infrastructure destroyed,” said UNICEF.
World Bank estimated at least USD$2 billion in damages from the storm.
Idai made landfall on March 14 near Beira with sustained winds of 175 kilometers (109 miles) per hour and gusts of 213 km/h and heavy rainfall, along with life-threatening storm surge. The system stalled over a region already damaged by floods during its first pass in early March.
That’s meant the loss of more than 200,000 homes just in Mozambique, in what UNICEF calls the worst natural disaster to hit southern Africa in at least two decades.
“The road to recovery will be long,” said UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore. “It is imperative that humanitarian partners are there every step of the way.”
The organization is asking for $122 million in donor funds to assist Cyclone Idai victims across the next nine months.
Image: WFP file