Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to the International Donors Conference in Beira, Mozambique, today:
I send warm greetings to all participating in the International Donors Conference taking place in the city of Beira. I am certain that I share with all a deep sense of distress at the loss of life, the devastation and the suffering caused by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
Thus, I cannot fail to reiterate my condolences and deep solidarity with the Government and the people of Mozambique, especially the communities most affected by these natural disasters. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed — and continue to do so — to alleviate the suffering of the people who have been deprived of their goods, houses, infrastructure and livelihoods.
The United Nations and its humanitarian partners were on the ground from the start of the crisis supporting the Government’s efforts; contributing to the coordination of international support; distributing food, drinking water and medicine; and providing shelter to those displaced. The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $24 million to Mozambique. However, it is necessary to recognize that in order to face the scale of the disaster, large additional resources are needed. The means at our disposal are not at all enough.
We face enormous challenges: people’s basic needs remain unmet; the risk of disease outbreaks is evident; and the negative impact on food security due to the loss of crops will be very significant. In order to strengthen the response to the tragedy, the United Nations launched an emergency humanitarian appeal of $282 million, which remains deeply underfunded. I, therefore, reiterate my appeal to the generosity of the international community. This is the moment to translate into concrete gestures our solidarity with a country affected by one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in African history – and which also warns us about the urgency of tackling climate change.
I can assure you that the United Nations will intensify its efforts to address the short- and medium-term effects of the disaster. Emergency humanitarian assistance will gradually shift to support for reconstruction and for the Government’s efforts to advance the country’s development. My message is clear: the United Nations will not forget Mozambique. I send my sincere wishes for the success of the International Donors Conference.