GENEVA - The U.N. childrens fund says at least 1.6 million children in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe need help right away to recover from the affects of Cyclone Idai, which battered their countries more than one month ago.
Cyclone Idai, the deadliest storm to hit southern Africa in more than two decades, killed at least 1,000 people, and destroyed crops, livelihoods and hundreds of thousands of homes.
The U.N. childrens fund says the emergency phase of its response in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe is winding down. But the road to recovery will remain very long, especially for children, who are the most vulnerable.
It says children lack essential services, including healthcare, nutrition, water and sanitation, protection and education. It says the situation is particularly dire for some one million children in Mozambique where the storm hit with particular ferocity.
UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac says conditions in that country are ripe for an explosion of disease, noting more than 5,000 cases of cholera have already been reported.
We also have a concern with malaria, with more than 7,500 cases confirmed. And UNICEF is distributing 500,000 mosquito nets. I also understand that in the coming weeks, campaigns are planned around measles vaccination, deworming and vitamin A boosters, he said.
Boulierac says UNICEF also is supporting the establishment of several health clinics in resettlement areas.
The agency reports nearly one-half-million children in Malawi need humanitarian assistance to recover from the impact of Cyclone Idai. It says many children are living in crowded evacuation centers.
It adds it is providing water trucks, toilets, medicine and mobile clinics in those centers; creating child-friendly spaces and providing children with education and recreation kits.
In Zimbabwe, 130,000 children are at risk. UNICEF says it is furnishing vital health and nutrition supplies, other essential relief and psycho-social support to vulnerable children in child-friendly spaces.
UNICEF is appealing for $122 million to support its humanitarian operations in the three storm-affected countries.