Maputo, 12 April 2019–ؘ UNDP’s Regional Director for Africa Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa commended the Government of Mozambique and the humanitarian community for their coordinated response to cyclone Idai as she concluded a three-day mission to Mozambique on Thursday, 11 April 2019.
“I saw in Beira humanitarian staff working in clusters of their area of expertise and not in their agencies, and under the leadership of the Government. This is the humanitarian response at its best, this is the future of the humanitarian work” said Ms. Eziakonwa.
Ahunna Eziakonwa, the senior most UN official to visit the country since the disaster, noted that a lot remained to be done, given the scale of the devastation. “We need to sustain this humanitarian response while supporting people in rebuilding their lives and their houses, infrastructure, and livelihoods. The needs are so overwhelming so people need all the support they can get,” she explained.
Meeting with the President of Mozambique, H.E. President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, Ms. Eziakonwa conveyed the condolences and solidarity from the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres and UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “The United Nations family stands with the people and the Government of Mozambique at this difficult time.”
Upon her arrival, Ms. Eziakonwa visited the port city of Beira, which was severely hit by cyclone Idai when it made landfall between 14 to 15 March. She visited some of the most affected areas, including Buzi, where she witnessed food distribution and interacted with local officials as well as with people who lost their loved ones, homes, and livelihoods.
According to Government figures, over 600 people lost their lives following the cyclone and floods; 239,731 houses were destroyed; 3,504 classrooms impacted with 335,132 students affected; 55 health facilities destroyed, and more than 715,300 ha of crops damaged (about 13% of Mozambique’s total agricultural land). According to the World Bank, agricultural losses are estimated between $141 million and $258 million.
The Agriculture Minister, the Public Works and Water Resources Minister, the Mayor of Beira city, and the General Director of the Government National Disaster Management Institute conveyed a unified message that local communities resilient and eager to rebuild their lives.
A US $300 million flash appeal has been launched. UNDP is conducting a social and economic impact assessment that will feed into a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) to be conducted by the Government with support from the UN, the World Bank and the European Union.
Following the humanitarian phase, the PDNA will inform decisions by the Government, development partners, and other stakeholders on how to rebuild infrastructure to withstand the impacts of future disasters and lay the foundations for sustainable resilient recovery.