Children form half of the over 1.5 million affected by Cyclone Idai – UNICEF

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More than 1.5 million people have been affected by the storm that has hit the south-west part of Africa since last week, around half of whom are estimated to be children, the United Nations children’s agency said on Tuesday.

The tropical cyclone named Iday, hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe last week, destroying roads, bridges, buildings and large tracks of crop farms.

UNICEF decried the destruction of children’s facilities, including schools, which has disrupted normal lives of the children.

“Hundreds of thousands of children have already seen their lives turned upside down by the devastating floods, and now Cyclone Idai has brought further suffering to families in its path,” said UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Leila Pakkala.

“Many children will have lost their homes, schools, hospitals and even friends and loved ones. UNICEF is on the ground working in close coordination with respective governments and humanitarian partners from three countries to scale up our response and respond to the immediate needs of affected children and their families.”

UNICEF also warns that the cyclone is likely to have destroyed water and sanitation infrastructure, impeding access to safe water for affected communities; thereby bringing a heightened risk of water-borne diseases, destruction of people’s homes, and increased protection risks, particularly for women and children.

The tropical storm has also led to the deaths of hundreds of people across the vast south-west Africa region. In Mozambique alone, at least 1,000 people are feared dead since the storm begun last week.

The clear extend of destruction is however expected to come to light as the floods subside.

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