Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 April 2019

Emirates Red Crescent team in Mozambique plans for major aid delivery after Cyclone Idai

The charity plans to distribute aid for up to 200,000 people

An Emirates Red Crescent response team rushed to Mozambique last week to prepare for a major aid response that could assist as many as 200,000 people after Cyclone Idai, which killed hundreds.

The coastal city of Beira bore the brunt when the cyclone hit on the afternoon of March 14.

Roofs were blown off buildings, while floods inundated homes and major infrastructure. Millions were displaced and hundreds have been confirmed dead. Many are still unable to return home.

The scale of the disaster was apparent to Ali Alsayegh, head of response at the ERC, even before his plane touched down.

Mr Alsayegh said that as the team flew over the disaster area, the damage to roads and buildings was clearly visible from the air.

The top priorities for his team were to assess the destruction and co-ordinate with officials from the National Disasters Management Institute, Mozambique’s relief agency.

“We are trying our best to help people,” he told The National. “Action needs to be taken, very quick action."

Many hospitals were devastated, while those schools left standing have become shelters for locals whose homes were destroyed.

The ERC is now focused on delivering urgent assistance to avoid further suffering, amid looming fears of the spread of diseases such as cholera, with at least five cases confirmed so far.

A team of doctors from the UAE’s Hospital group VPS plan to fly a mobile care unit to the worst hit area in coming days.

There are fears that cases from disease outbreaks could increase sharply, with at least 2,700 people suffering from acute diarrhoea, a major symptom of cholera.

“The situation is too bad,” Mr Alsayegh said.

He said that the recovery operation to assist those affected was only just beginning.

Updated: March 29, 2019 04:09 AM

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