Cyclone Idai: Unicef urges assistance to children

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United Nations, March 24 (IANS) The Unicef has urged the international community to provide assistance to the children affected by Cyclone Idai that has killed 417 people in Africa and has left over 1,500 displaced.

“We are in a race against time to help and protect children in the disaster-ravaged areas of Mozambique,” Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, Unicef, said on Saturday after visiting Beira, one of the areas most affected by the cyclone.

A week after Beira was hit by Cyclone Idai, “aid agencies are barely beginning to see the scale of the damage,” said Fore, as she called for more international support to help quickly get relief to more than 1 million people across the country and prevent the possible spread of waterborne diseases like cholera, reports Xinhua news agency.

Initial government estimates show that 1.8 million people across the country, including 900,000 children, have been affected by the cyclone which slammed the country last week.

“The situation will get worse before it gets better,” said Fore, noting that as aid agencies have now gotten a clearer picture of the devastation, with some reporting that entire villages were submerged, buildings flattened and schools and health care centres destroyed in the days since the storm struck.

Cyclone Idai started as a tropical depression in Malawi, where it forced families from their homes into churches, schools and public buildings. Nearly half a million children are affected.

–IANS

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