(STL.News) – Yesterday, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced nearly $33 million in additional humanitarian assistance to meet the urgent needs caused by Cyclone Idai and related flooding, including nearly $31 million for the people of Mozambique and over $2 million for the people of Zimbabwe.
For Mozambique, this new funding to the World Food Programme (WFP) will help nearly 1.5 million people meet their basic emergency food needs for one month. The new assistance will provide both direct food assistance, including more than 17,000 metric tons of rice, peas, fortified cereal, and vegetable oil; as well as vouchers, to enable families to purchase food in local markets.
Earlier today, U.S. Ambassador Brian Nichols announced an additional $2.5 million in humanitarian assistance for Zimbabwe. This new funding for food assistance brings the total U.S. humanitarian aid for the response to the cyclone in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe to more than $40 million.
The United States has also started to airlift relief supplies – including heavy-duty plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, blankets, and water-treatment units and some of the food commodities announced yesterday – from its warehouses in Italy, UAE, and Djibouti to help thousands of people in Mozambique. In addition, USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team remains on the ground to lead the U.S. response efforts and work with local officials and humanitarian partners to provide life-saving aid to the affected communities.
Cyclone Idai is now considered the worst natural disaster in southern Africa in nearly two decades. Water still covers approximately 900 square miles of land – an area larger than New York City and Los Angeles combined. The catastrophic flooding triggered by the storm has killed more than 500 people, and nearly 1.9 million people are in need of assistance.
As the world’s largest donor of humanitarian assistance, the United States remains committed to helping people affected by this devastating cyclone, and we applaud other donor nations who have demonstrated great generosity in response to this natural disaster.