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At the end of a two day visit to Mozambique, the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, declared that the international community must step up its support for the victims of cyclone Idai and the ensuing floods which devastated much of central Mozambique.
Beasley had arrived in Beira, the port city which took the full brunt of the cyclone, and then overflew the flooded district of Buzi, and met with survivors receiving WFP aid in the isolated village of Guara Guara.
Cited in a WFP press release, Beasley said “the lives of these people have been devastated. They don’t have means of subsistence now. They have lost their houses, they have lost their fields, they have lost their plantations, they have lost loved ones. They will need assistance for at least the next six to 12 months in order to recover”.
It is estimated that 400,000 hectares of crops, mostly maize, have been washed away, just weeks before they were due to be harvested. Other sources of income, such as livestock and fishing were also seriously affected.
WFP warns that the victims will need “sustained support” until they can recover – which in the case of peasant farmers, means until the main harvest of 2020. “We have to work with the Mozambican government and with the communities to ensure that the rehabilitation is done in such a way as to avoid any repetition of this devastation, by building everything better – houses, schools and health centres – so that they can tolerate the shocks”, urged Beasley.
WFP says that, since the cyclone struck, it has provided food aid for more than 150,000 people, and hopes that this figure will reach half a million in the coming weeks. An estimated 1.7 million Mozambicans are in need of food aid. WFP hopes to reach all of them as soon as possible.
As the leader of the global humanitarian logistics group which is helping to coordinate the relief operations, WFO has sent three MI-8 transport helicopters to Beira and a cargo aircraft for a broad response to the humanitarian situation.
In Maputo, Beasley met with President Filipe Nyusi and other senior government figures and donor representatives. He said that, despite the devastation, “I saw courage and determination on the faces of the Mozambican people. The terrible destruction cannot weaken their spirits. The WFP will be on their side, raising its operation to help the greatest number possible”.Source: AIM
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