04/15/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/15/2019 18:04
NEW YORK / BEIRA / CHIMANIMANI / LILONGWE (April 14, 2019) - At least 1.6 million children need urgent assistance - in healthcare, nutrition, protection, education, water and sanitation - one month after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, UNICEF said today. Any prolonged interruption in access to essential services could lead to disease outbreaks and spikes in malnutrition, to which children are especially vulnerable.
The needs in Mozambique remain massive, with 1 million children in need of assistance, followed by more than 443,000 in Malawi and 130,000 in Zimbabwe.
Mozambique has already seen cases of cholera and malaria surge to 4,600 and 7,500 respectively since the cyclone hit.
UNICEF is particularly worried about access to services for the more than 130,000 children who remain displaced following the cyclone, most of whom are in Mozambique and Malawi. More than 200,000 homes were destroyed by the storm in Mozambique alone.
'Children living in crowded shelters or away from their homes are at risk of diseases, exploitation and abuse,' said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, who visited Beira immediately after the cyclone hit. 'The road to recovery will be long. It is imperative that humanitarian partners are there every step of the way. We need to help children and families survive and then get back on their feet.'
Across the three countries, flood waters have largely receded, and some affected families have started to return home. Yet thousands remain in evacuation camps because their houses were damaged or destroyed. Food security is also a major issue because the storm destroyed crops weeks before the harvest.
UNICEF and its partners continue to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of children and families. UNICEF actions to date include:
UNICEF has launched an appeal for $122 million to support its humanitarian response for children and families affected by the storm and its aftermath, in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi over the next nine months.
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The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.