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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

US military to provide support to Mozambique for cyclone

The United States military says President Donald Trump has directed it to support relief efforts to help Mozambique with the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai more than a week ago.

The US Africa Command statement comes three days after Mozambique's government made a formal request to the international community for aid. The southern Africa nation earlier declared a national disaster as its president said deaths from the cyclone could reach 1,000. Confirmed deaths are now close to 450.

The US statement says Africom provides disaster relief "when it has unique capabilities that can be utilised in the US Government's response."

It says the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa will lead the US military efforts and that its initial assessments have begun at the scene of the disaster.

Cyclone Idai's death toll has risen above 750 in the three southern African countries hit 10 days ago by the storm, as workers rush to restore electricity, water and try to prevent outbreak of cholera.

In Mozambique the number of dead has risen to 446 while there are 259 dead in Zimbabwe and at least 56 dead in Malawi for a three-nation total of 761.

Authorities in Mozambique say that with a key road open to the badly damaged city of Beira, conditions on the ground improving and more international help arriving, vital aid to those hit by Cyclone Idai should now flow more freely.

The death toll is "very preliminary," said Mozambique's environment minister, Celso Correia, who said it is expected to rise.

Some 228,000 displaced people are now in camps across the vast flooded area of Mozambique, said Correia, who is the government's disaster coordinator, briefing journalists on Monday. It is still too early to give a number of missing, he said.

Updated: March 25, 2019 09:28 PM

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