Aid agencies battle to assist 1.8 mln Mozambicans affected by Cyclone Idai

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-24 03:01:38|Editor: yan
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GENEVA, April 23 (Xinhua) -- With an estimated 1.8 million people needing humanitarian assistance in Mozambique, aid organizations are facing immense challenges due to extensive damages to infrastructure and low funding, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Tuesday.

The Mozambican government, UNHCR, and other partners have begun relocating families displaced by Cyclone Idai back to areas closer to their places of origin, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said at a briefing here.

On Saturday, 200 families were moved out of emergency shelters in the central town of Beira, he said.

"It's hoped that over the next 10 days some 70,000 further people will be moved out of the temporary sites they have been living in for the past month," Baloch added.

These sites include schools, communal halls, libraries, and other buildings.

Cyclone Idai hit the southern African nations of Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe in mid-March.

Hardest hit was Mozambique where the cyclone killed some 600 people, and more than 1,600 were injured, according to official estimates. Nearly 240,000 houses have also been damaged and over 111,000 destroyed.

Families moved at the weekend came from the district of Buzi, the epicenter of devastation in Mozambique.

As a first step, they were moved to a transit center in Guara Guara, some 55 kilometers from their areas of origin in Buzi.

Guara Guara is on higher land and is more suitable for families to restart a life closer to home until they can recover old houses destroyed.

On arrival, the families were assigned emergency tents provided by UNHCR and the country's agency for managing natural disasters.

The settlement is equipped with potable water and latrines, and the government is providing food with the support of the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

The non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is operating a health center on the ground, said UNHCR.