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Aid workers in Africa challenged by aftermath of Cyclone Idai

Kids scrape for remaining rice inside a pot at a displacement center in Beira, Mozambique, March 22

Kids scrape for remaining rice inside a pot at a displacement center in Beira, Mozambique, March 22

Aid workers were confronted with chaos and pleas for help Friday in Mozambique as receding waters allowed them access to storm-stricken areas a week after Cyclone Idai swept through the southern African region.

The death toll is expected to soar as more bodies are discovered. Workers from relief agencies have voiced surprise over the gravity of the damage inflicted by the storm and subsequent flooding.

More than 600 deaths have been confirmed in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The Mozambican government said it expects the figure to rise to 1,000 or more. Some 1.7 million people were affected by the storm, one of the most powerful to strike the region in decades.

As they labored to salvage any personal possessions they could find, many residents in the affected areas worried about their future and shortages of essentials such as food, water and medicine.

A man looks around from atop his house after Cyclone Idai in Buzi district outside Beira, Mozambique, March 22

Henrietta Fore, the executive director of UNICEF, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, told the French news agency AFP that aid agencies were behind in efforts to provide humanitarian relief to tens of thousands of Mozambicans.

"We are running out of time," she said.

International aid efforts are coordinated by the World Food Program, or WFP. The agency's southern Africa director, Lola Castro, told VOA that relief groups are confronted with a "humongous logistics challenge" to help victims who are "extremely stressed."

Castro said problems are compounded by the fact the stricken areas are located near the mouths of rivers. "Remember, these are deltas … and all these deltas are between salt- and freshwater."

She said the tidal waves created by Idai may have salinized area waters, adding, "People are drinking this."

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and are in need of shelter. The World Health Organization has warned that squalid conditions could help lead to the spread of infectious diseases.

Survivors of Cyclone Idai wait in an abandoned and derelict building near Nhamatanda, about 50 kilometers from Beira, in Mozambique

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Friday that cases of cholera have been reported in Beira, Mozambique's fourth-largest city.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday that the U.N. and its humanitarian partners are "scaling up the response with the initial funding from generous donors." He said the U.N. has already released $20 million, but added, "Far greater international support is needed."

The WFP's Castro said a "huge" humanitarian response is just the beginning.

"The [Mozambique] government is going to need a lot of support on this, and the international community will have to look into a very long-term" humanitarian relief campaign, she said.

Comments

0 #1 mehdi mountather 2019-03-23 16:01
Cyclone Idai punishment of ALLAH.

To avoid the death of Africans by these punishments of ALLAH plane crash sinking the train accidents earthquake tsunami natural disasters cardiac arrest Ebola the meteorite fire viruses and wars to non-Muslims to convert to Islam to Muslims to apply the Quran to 100% Daesh and Boko Haram to lay down their weapons to witches and wizards to end their crimes in Africa on 23.3.2019.
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