The dimension of need and suffering surpasses the worst fears. The Unicef speaks of 1.8 million sufferers and warns against a cholera spread.
After the devastating cyclone “Idai”, the number of fatalities in Southeast Africa has risen to more than 600, according to the governments of the three countries concerned. At least 417 people lost their lives in Mozambique, 139 in Zimbabwe and 59 in Malawi, said a spokesman for the UN Emergency Relief Agency (OCHA) in Geneva on Saturday. The numbers came from the governments, he stressed.
The United Nations Children’s Fund Unicef estimates that at least 1.8 million people are affected. The number will continue to rise, it warned on Saturday. The UN World Food Program WFP is rapidly expanding its emergency aid. In addition to the missions in Yemen, Syria and South Sudan, the disaster now ranks among the biggest crises at the moment, making it possible to mobilize more helpers and reserves. Unicef said that more than a week after the passage of the storm, there are still regions that not a single helper has reached yet.
Clean drinking water is a crucial survival aid. “While the search and rescue of survivors continues, we must do everything possible to prevent water-borne diseases from catastrophic disaster,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said on her visit to Beira. The floods, overcrowded shelters, poor hygiene, stagnant water, and unsafe drinking water increase the risk of cholera, malaria, and diarrhea, according to Unicef.
A week ago, the hurricane had devastated parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. At least 600,000 have lost their home, according to the World Food Program (WFP). In the Beira region alone, 11,000 homes have been completely destroyed, as have 2600 classrooms and 39 health centers, UNICEF said.