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The number of people affected by hunger may increase in Mozambique as a result of Cyclone Idai, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned.
In a statement released by FAO, the UN agency said that immediate aid was needed to restore the primary sector, of which 80 per cent of the country’s population is dependent.
The FAO estimates that, even before Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique on 14 October, 1.8 million people were already facing serious food insecurity.
Saving animals, providing support to fishing communities, rehabilitating affected land and restarting food production are “key” tasks as the water begins to recede, the agency said.
The FAO estimates that US$19 million (EUR 16.9 million) will be needed over the next three months to help those most affected by the cyclone in Mozambique, which killed at least 493 people in the country.
FAO figures indicate that about 400,000 hectares of crops, mainly maize and sorghum, have been affected in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala, a few months before the harvest period.
Agricultural production in Manica and Sofala regularly accounts for about a quarter of Mozambique’s national grain production.
FAO representative in Mozambique Olman Serrano said that the organisation must first identify the land that can be rehabilitated, and distribute seeds to allow farmers to start re-sowing in April.
The FAO will also support livestock farmers and fishermen in places like Beira.
Another UN agency, the World Food Program (WFP), revealed that it had distributed food to over 150,000 people since the cyclone struck Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, saying that it hoped to reach 500,000 people over the coming weeks .
The WFP, which has called for US$140 million to deal with the emergency over the next three months, is coordinating humanitarian aid and has moved three transport helicopters and a cargo plane to Beira.
The latest assessment, presented by the Mozambican authorities, suggests 1,523 injured and 839,748 people affected by the natural disaster of March 14.
In addition to causing at least 808 deaths, the Cyclone Idai affected 2.9 million people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, according to United Nations agencies.Source: Lusa
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