Emergency getting ‘bigger by the hour’ – U.N. warns following Cyclone Idai tragedy

Helicopter footage shows flooding and damage after Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 17, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video on March 18, 2019. International Federation Of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

The United Nations is warning that the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai is becoming clearer, and that the emergency “is getting bigger by the hour.”

The storm has hit a vast part of the south-west Africa, including Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

In Mozambique alone, at least 1,000 people are feared dead since the storm begun last week.

Roads, bridges, buildings and crops were completely destroyed as the storm forced its way into the main land.

“We are talking about a massive disaster right now where hundreds of thousands -in the millions of people – (are) potentially affected,” said Jens Laerke from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“We need all the logistical support that we can possibly get.”

Although floodwaters have reportedly begun to recede in Zimbabwe and Malawi, allowing some people to return home, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that Mozambique is facing “a major humanitarian emergency that is getting bigger by the hour”.

An estimated 1.7 million people were in the path of the cyclone in Mozambique, WFP spokesperson Herve Verhoosel told journalists in Geneva, in addition to the 920,000 people affected in Malawi and “thousands more” impacted in Zimbabwe.

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