An aerial view of the devastation in Beira, taken by an IFRC emergency assessment team
GENEVA, 18 March, 2019 – The UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, today extended her condolences to the peoples and governments of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe on the tragic loss of life resulting from Cyclone Idai at the weekend.
“I extend my deepest sympathy to all those who have lost loved ones in what is the worst extreme weather event to occur so far this year. Cyclone Idai underlines that no matter how effective early warnings are, there is still a huge demand for greater investment in resilient infrastructure in many parts of the world if we are to break the cycle of disaster-response-recovery.
“It is still too early to know the full extent of the disaster unfolding in the port city of Beira in Mozambique where 500,000 people bore the brunt of the storm but the human impact and trauma inflicted on the population must be very significant given the scale of the damage being reported by the Government disaster management agency, UN agencies, the Red Cross and the media.
“It is particularly distressing that severe damage has been done to schools, hospitals, health facilities and other key infrastructure as this will have consequences not just for the emergency response phase but for the long-term efforts of these countries to eradicate poverty and hunger.
“Cyclone Idai is a clear demonstration of the exposure and vulnerability of many low-lying cities and towns to sea-level rise as the impact of climate change continues to influence and disrupt normal weather patterns.”