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UN launches $281m appeal for Idai

By Tendai Kamhungira

United Nations (UN) secretary-general António Guterres is appealing for $281 million to scale up its aid efforts to Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, which has left over 170 people dead and over 300 missing.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

In a statement, the UN chief said the cyclone which ravaged Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, is one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in the history of Africa.

“The UN Central Emergency Response Fund immediately allocated $20 million to help kick-start the response, in a decision that was immediately taken by my under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock. Other countries have indicated support, for which we are grateful.

“However, far more is needed. Yesterday, we launched a $281, 7 million revised flash appeal for Mozambique, which is a scale-up emergency — the most severe. The revised appeal for Zimbabwe and the response plan from the government of Malawi will be issued in the days ahead. On Thursday in Geneva, we will be able to brief the donor community and all member states.

I call on the international community to fund these appeals quickly and fully so that aid agencies can urgently ramp up their responses,” Guterres said. The tropical cyclone, which reached the country from Mozambique, knocked down trees and destroyed key infrastructure and hundreds of homes in the process, mainly in Manicaland Province.

Government declared Cyclone Idai a national disaster, which has seen several local and international organisations including ordinary people donating various items ranging from tents to clothes and food.

Apart from the loss of human life and property, 230 dams also burst, leading to severe flooding which caused deaths of more than 20 000 head of livestock.

However, observers say the recent cyclone could be the worst in the history of the southern hemisphere as search efforts are still underway in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. According to Local Government minister July Moyo, at least 329 people are still missing while 179 have since been confirmed dead.

“In Manicaland, the cumulative number of deaths is 179, burials, 102, unidentified bodies buried, 12, injuries, 186, missing people, 329, displaced, 6 788, number of children affected, 3 500, displaced refugees, 2 000, number of casualties airlifted to Skyline, 52, houses affected, 7 703, food insecure population, 40 064 and number of bridges damaged, 11,” Moyo said.

Zimbabwe experienced its worst floods in living memory in 2000 when Cyclone Eline left a trail of destruction in Manicaland, where more than 136 people were killed and 59 184 huts were damaged.DailyNews