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UN chief urges donors to boost support for post-cyclone recovery in Mozambique

The Government-led International Pledging Conference, which opened on Friday, wrapped up today in the coastal city of Beira, one of the areas worst hit by cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which struck this past March and April respectively, killing hundreds and impacting close to two million.

The post-disaster needs assessment carried out by the UN Development Program (UNDP), the European Union, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, estimated that Mozambique would need some $3.2 billion. dollars for post-cyclone reconstruction in affected areas.

Cyclone Kenneth made landfall on April 25 inflicting substantial damage to the economic and social life in the Cabo Delgado province. With maximum sustained wind speed of 225 km/hour and gusts that reached 270km/hour, the storm ripped off roofs and generated heavy rainfall resulting in massive flooding.

That disaster came as the country was still reeling less than two months after Cyclone Idai devastated central provinces, killing more than 600 people, unleashing a cholera epidemic, wiping out crops in the Mozambique’s breadbasket, forcing a million people to rely on food assistance to survive, and causing massive destruction of homes, schools and infrastructure in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Sending warm greetings to the Conference, Mr. Guterres said in a message that he was certain he shared with all a deep sense of distress at the loss of life, the devastation and the suffering caused by the deadly cyclones.

He reiterated his condolences and deep solidarity with the Government and the people of Mozambique, especially the communities most affected by these natural disasters.

“I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed – and continue to do so – to alleviate the suffering of the people who have been deprived of their goods, houses, infrastructure and livelihoods,” said Mr. Guterres, noting that the UN and its humanitarian partners had been on the ground since the start of the crisis.

The world body’s support to the Government’s efforts included contributing to the coordination of international support; distributing food, drinking water and medicine; and providing shelter to those displaced.

But Mr. Guterres stressed that while the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $24 million to Mozambique, it was necessary to recognize that to face the scale of the disaster, large additional resources are needed.

“The means at our disposal are not at all enough. We face enormous challenges: people’s basic needs remain unmet; the risk of disease outbreaks is evident; and the negative impact on food security due to the loss of crops will be very significant,” he said in his message.

He also noted that in order to strengthen the response to the tragedy, the United Nations launched an emergency humanitarian appeal of $282 million, which remained deeply underfunded.

UN Mozambique
Participants at the final day of the International Donors Conference in Beira, Mozambique.

Against this background, Mr. Guterres reiterated his appeal to the generosity of the international community, saying “this is the moment to translate into concrete gestures our solidarity with a country affected by one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in African history – and which also warns us about the urgency of tackling climate change.”

UNDP actively supported the Conference, with policy and technical expertise, having provided assistance in recovery efforts from the very beginning. Going forward, UNDP said it would be working with all partners to advance recovery and help build resilience.

About 700 participants from international organizations, development partners, private sector and civil society organizations were expected to be present at the conference. Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi and several senior ministers also were expected to participate.

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