Mozambique needs more aid – Guterres

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on called on the international community to provide more aid to Mozambique, where two cyclones spurred by climate change killed hundreds and wrought widespread destruction earlier this year.

Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth struck six weeks apart, flattened cities and villages and, in the case of Idai, which crashed into Mozambique’s central region in March, prompted devastating floods in one of the worst weather-related disasters to hit the southern hemisphere.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi in Maputo, Guterres said the cyclones were a consequence of climate change – a phenomenon Mozambique is on the frontline of but does not contribute to.

“This gives me the right to demand the international community double its efforts,” he said noting appeals for post-cyclone aid are under-funded.

An emergency UN appeal for Mozambique post Idai received less than half of the $282 million requested, while donors at a pledging conference in the cyclone-hit port-city Beira raised $1.2 billion for reconstruction – again less than half of the $3.2 billion Mozambique requires.

Idai, one of the worst storms on record to hit Mozambique, pummelled Beira before moving inland, killing 1,000 people across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Kenneth hit further north with winds of up to 280 kph, killing around 45 people and reducing rural villages to piles of wood and palm fronds.

It marked the first time two powerful cyclones struck Mozambique in the same season, destroying homes, infrastructure and crops in areas where many live in poverty. Climate change is expected to see the country increasingly exposed to extreme weather.

The country’s north, where Kenneth hit, is struggling with a nascent Islamic insurgency, which has seen militants kill over 100 people and which complicated relief efforts in the aftermath of the storm.

Guterres said the UN would help Mozambique prevent young people becoming radicalised providing experts to support the country communicating with disenfranchised groups.