- While rescue effort continues, a major health emergency looms
- UK public urged to donate; appeals air on major UK broadcast channels tonight
A week since Cyclone Idai slammed into Mozambique at the start of what could be the southern hemisphere’s deadliest weather-related disaster, members of the Disasters Emergency Committee and their local partners are scaling up rapidly across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
The coalition of leading UK aid agencies has launched a fundraising appeal to help families devastated by the crisis.
Cyclone Idai has affected an estimated 2.6 million people and left behind a trail of death and destruction spanning hundreds of kilometres. Whole towns and villages have been completely submerged. In many places the torrential rain continues, rivers are bursting their banks and flood levels are still rising. In Mozambique waters are expected to rise by up to eight metres, putting at least 350,000 people at risk.
Monica Blagescu, DEC Director of Humanitarian Programmes, said:
“A week after the cyclone made landfall, each day is more critical than the last. In Mozambique alone, there are still an estimated 15,000 people in urgent need of rescue. And a secondary emergency is approaching rapidly. The next few days are critical in preventing a major and deadly health crisis as standing flood waters provide the perfect breeding ground for cholera and malaria.”
“This is a decisive moment. We have a limited window to raise money so aid agencies can boost their operations and save lives.”
While the vital search and rescue effort continues, members of the aid coalition are working round the clock with local partners to provide water and sanitation to prevent disease outbreaks, roofs over peoples’ heads, and mosquito nets to prevent malaria in the midst of stagnant water that could take weeks to recede.
As harder to reach areas are accessed in the next few days, the true extent of the destruction will continue to emerge.
Gerald Magashi, Director of Operations at Plan International Mozambique is in the destroyed port city of Beira. He said:
“The situation in Beira is dire. All the houses have been wiped out. It’s scary. There’s no power, there’s no fuel, and even communication is really difficult. I’m speaking from on top of the airport building so that I can have a signal.
“All the houses, their roofs are not there. All the roofs are blown out. So people are sleeping outside.
“All of the humanitarian actors are coordinating with the government and UN OCHA and working towards rescuing the people by helicopter and boat. They are starting to do the rapid needs assessment. So as of now, our priority is rescuing the people who are trapped in the floods.”
Concern Worldwide’s country director in Malawi, Yousaf Jogezai, said:
“Heavy rain has resulted in two or three new areas being cut off,” he said. “This in addition to around 13,000 people who can only be reached by boat or helicopter.”
“We are currently facing a very dangerous situation.”
Mr Jogezai believes that people may not be able to begin returning to their homes for another three weeks.
DEC members are working closely with national and local partners to support the relief effort, delivering emergency shelter kits, food such as pulses and maize flour, water purification tablets and urgent health assistance.
Tonight, after early and late evening news bulletins, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky will broadcast appeals (21 March) in support of DEC fundraising.
Every pound donated by the UK public will be matched by the UK government through its Aid Match scheme up to the value of £2 million. This new support will double the impact of the public’s own donations and will ensure that charities working on the ground can reach the men, women and children who have been left homeless and are in urgent need of food, water and temporary shelter.
To make a donation to the DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk
Stay up to date with developments in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: www.twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee
Notes to editors:
- Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours)
- UK Aid Match enquiries should be directed to the Department for International Development. Please call 0207 023 0600 (24 hour).
- At times of very great need, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together a unique alliance of the UK’s leading aid agencies and broadcasters to maximise fundraising and quickly deliver effective emergency relief. The DEC brings together 14 major UK aid agencies: Action Against Hunger, Action Aid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.
- Through UK Aid Match the Department for International Development gives the British public the opportunity to decide how the UK aid budget is spent and support people in desperate need by matching their donations pound-for-pound up to £2 million. This has increased the impact of a number of DEC appeals to help those in need around the world, including most recently to support people affected by the earthquake in Indonesia.
- To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.
- Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters.
- To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk.
- £30 can provide blankets to keep two families warm.
- £50 could provide a family with food for one month.
- £100 could help build toilet and washing facilities for families who lost their homes.