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Death toll from Cyclone Idai surpasses 500, coalition launches fundraising

Staff Writer | March 21, 2019
A week after Cyclone Idai lashed southern Africa, flooding still raged Thursday.
Cyclone Idai Africa
Africa   The confirmed death toll surpassed 500, with hundreds more feared dead
The confirmed death toll in Zimbabwe, neighboring Mozambique and Malawi surpassed 500, with hundreds more feared dead in towns and villages that were completely submerged.

Aid agencies and several governments continued to step up their deployments, with helicopters in short supply for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the cyclone.

Spokesman Herve Verhoosel of the World Food Program told reporters in Geneva of the “alarming news” that the Marowanyati dam in Zimbabwe was hit by heavy rains overnight, putting populations in the region at risk.

Sasol committed to donate $250,000, approximately 15 million meticais, for the relief and support of communities that have been severely affected by tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira and Dondo in Sofala province, as well as other impacted areas in Inhambane province.

"We have already mobilised first €2 million as a first aid, a first emergency response," EU's High Representative Vice-President Federica Mogherini said.

The coalition of leading UK aid agencies has launched a fundraising appeal to help families devastated by the crisis.

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.”