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Widespread Damage Feared As Cyclone Idai Approaches the Coast of Mozambique

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GENEVA, Switzerland, March 14, 2019/ — With Tropical Cyclone Idai expected to make landfall in central Mozambique in about 12 hours, aid workers are warning that it could cause extensive damage and displace tens of thousands of people. 

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has just released more than 340,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to fund local preparedness efforts and to prepare to support 7,500 people in the aftermath of the storm. 

Jamie LeSeuer, Head of Emergency Operations for IFRC, is in Mozambique overseeing emergency preparedness efforts. He said: 

“Heavy rains have already displaced hundreds of people in provinces such as Zambesia and Tete. Many families urgently need temporary shelters, especially those whose houses have been completely or partly destroyed. We worry that the fast-approaching tropical cyclone will result in further devastation. 

“Our teams are on high alert and are in communities warning them of the approaching storm. They will also be crucial for any response efforts that are needed once Idai has passed.” 

In Tete and Zambesia, Mozambique Red Cross has mobilized more than 200 volunteers to share early warning information to at-risk communities. They are also providing rescue services to flood-affected people. 

In addition to the urgent need of emergency shelters, families whose houses have been completely destroyed will require emergency relief items, including blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, and mosquito nets to ensure that their immediate needs are met. 

There are also concerns about the long-term effects of the ongoing floods, as well as the imminent cyclone, in terms food security. Over 80,300 hectares of crops in Zambesia and Tete have been ravaged by the ongoing floods. This has severely affected the livelihoods of more than 50,000 families reliant on agriculture. The situation could get worse after tropical cyclone Idai makes landfall. 

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