Maputo — The Japanese government has granted 6.9 million US dollars to Mozambique for assistance to people affected by cyclone Idai and the ensuing floods.
Idai hit the central Mozambican provinces of Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambezia on 14 March, wiping out about 700,000 hectares of crops, shortly before they could be harvested. An estimated 1.85 million people in the central region are in need of humanitarian assistance.
A Thursday press release from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said that, with the Japanese funds, the WFP and other partners would be able to assist about 350,000 people affected by the cyclone and floods.
"The cyclone and flooding have graphically underscored just how vulnerable Mozambicans are to climate shocks", said WFP Mozambique Country Director Karin Manente. "Already high malnutrition rates in affected areas risk being aggravated by cholera and malaria. This timely contribution from Japan will help vulnerable communities in need of sustained support get back on their feet. In the case of many subsistence farmers, that will take until the next main harvest in mid-2020."
WFP plans to use the money to provide food directly to 267,000 people and vouchers for a further 80,000 which can be used in shops to acquire rations of rice or maize meal, dried beans or peas and fortified vegetable oil.
The WFP release added that, since cyclone Idai, the agency "has reached 1.4 million people with food assistance and continues to expand its emergency response while planning recovery, reconstruction and resilience-building activities".
It added that, despite significant support for the cyclone victims from the international community and from private business, a further 73 million dollars "are urgently needed to support affected people between now and the middle of June".