22 March 2019

Secretary-General Appeals Strongly for Greater International Humanitarian Response in Support of Countries Devastated by Cyclone Idai

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ statement on Cyclone Idai:

I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and heart-wrenching images of human suffering we have seen since Cyclone Idai hit Beira, Mozambique, on the night of 14 March, and then swept into Malawi and Zimbabwe, resulting in the massive disaster.

I have been encouraged by the efforts of national and international search-and-rescue teams, who have been working around the clock to save thousands of lives under dangerous and challenging conditions.  These heroes have not only rescued families off roofs, but are also delivering food, water purification tablets and other life-saving humanitarian assistance to survivors after communities have literally been washed away.

The United Nations and humanitarian partners are scaling up the response with the initial funding from generous donors.  The United Nations has already released $20 million to kick-start the response.  However, far greater international support is needed.

With crops destroyed in the breadbasket of Mozambique, more people are at risk of food insecurity in all three countries.  And homes, schools, hospitals and roads lie in ruin.  What is needed now are funds to support the response in the days, weeks and months to come.

We must all stand in solidarity with the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.  I would like to make a strong appeal to the international community to step up support.

For information media. Not an official record.