First UNHCR relief flight lands in Mozambique
A plane carrying relief items from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, landed early Wednesday morning in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, (0100 hours local time) to support people affected by the Cyclone Idai.
The airlift is one of the three flights meant to bring relief to some 30,000 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
UNHCR aid is being moved from its global stockpiles in Dubai, including family tents, plastic tarpaulins, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, solar lanterns, cooking sets, jerry cans and other relief items.
“Survivors of this devastating natural disaster are in dire need of global support,” said Valentin Tapsoba, UNHCR Director for Southern Africa, who had personally flown in from Pretoria to oversee relief operations.
“Our contribution is a gesture of solidarity and a note of thanks to those who have generously hosted refugees and shared whatever little they had. We are here to remind them that they are not alone in this hour of need.”
In Mozambique, UNHCR supplies will be immediately transported onwards to Beira, one of the hardest hit locations by the devastating cyclone, where thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihoods.
Two other flights are scheduled to arrive in Zimbabwe and Malawi this week.
In addition, UNHCR emergency teams have started arriving and are being deployed in all three affected countries to support the response, as well as to assume inter-agency coordination functions to protect vulnerable persons coping with the aftermath of the disaster, including refugees.
Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall during the night of 14 to 15 March near Beira City, in central Mozambique. Initial reports indicate 447 deaths, 1,500 injured and significant damage to infrastructure in Beira and surrounding areas.
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