US pours more humanitarian aid into Idai-stricken areas

Experts have warned that the destruction of drinking water sources and lack of sanitation in overcrowded shelters in Mozambique could create breeding grounds for waterborne diseases such as cholera. Picture: AFP / File / Yasuyoshi CHIBA

Experts have warned that the destruction of drinking water sources and lack of sanitation in overcrowded shelters in Mozambique could create breeding grounds for waterborne diseases such as cholera. Picture: AFP / File / Yasuyoshi CHIBA

Water still covers approximately 900 square miles of land – an area larger than New York City and Los Angeles combined.

The United States of America continues to pour humanitarian aid into the flood-stricken Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi with nearly $33 million (about R464.8 million) in additional humanitarian assistance to meet the urgent needs following the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Idai.

In the latest aid effort, the US government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAid), released nearly $31 million for the people of Mozambique and over $2 million for the people of Zimbabwe. According to the US Embassy in South Africa, new funding to the World Food Programme (WFP) will help nearly 1.5 million people meet their basic emergency food needs for a month.

US Ambassador to South Africa Brian Nichols announced a further $2.5 million in humanitarian assistance for Zimbabwe.

“The new assistance will provide both direct food assistance, including more than 17,000 metric tons of rice, peas, fortified cereal, and vegetable oil; as well as vouchers, to enable families to purchase food in local markets,” Nichols said.

Nichols said: “This new funding for food assistance brings the total US humanitarian aid for the response to the cyclone in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe to more than $40 million.”

Cyclone Idai is now considered the worst natural disaster in southern Africa in nearly two decades. Water still covers approximately 900 square miles of land – an area larger than New York City and Los Angeles combined. The catastrophic flooding triggered by the storm has killed more than 500 people, and nearly 1.9 million people are in need of assistance.

“As the world’s largest donor of humanitarian assistance, the United States remains committed to helping people affected by this devastating cyclone, and we applaud other donor nations who have demonstrated great generosity in response to this natural disaster,” Nichols said.

Since Wednesday last week the United States airlifted relief supplies – including heavy-duty plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, blankets, and water-treatment units and some food commodities from its warehouses in Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti to help thousands of people in Mozambique.

“In addition, USAid’s Disaster Assistance Response Team remains on the ground to lead the US response efforts and work with local officials and humanitarian partners to provide life-saving aid to the affected communities,” Nichols said.

ericn@citizen.co.za

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