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Appeal launched for African cyclone victims

Disheartening scenes: David Burt, the Premier, has encouraged Bermuda residents to donate to the Red Cross to help victims of Cyclone Idai (File photograph)

David Burt has urged Bermudians to remember those affected by Cyclone Idai in southeastern Africa.

Hundreds were killed when Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi on Saturday, unleashing a trail of devastating destruction recently.

The International Red Cross Federation has launched a disaster appeal to help those affected.

Clean water and basic sanitation facilities have been deployed by the International Red Cross Federation to Mozambique, where at least 400,000 people were displaced.

The first deployment will provide basic sanitation facilities for up to 20,000 people, while the second will produce up to 225,000 litres of clean water per day, enough for 15,000 people.

The Premier said: “The scenes of the devastation and immense flooding are disheartening and I wish for the people of these countries to know that our distance from them does not diminish our concern for their welfare.

“I have liaised with the local Red Cross and they are equipped to forward donations and field inquiries about how to best assist during these difficult times.”

The Bermuda Red Cross said Bermudians can assist by making a donation.

The UN reported that millions of people were in the direct path of what could be the “worst weather-related disaster to hit the southern hemisphere”.

People lost loved ones and their homes in the disaster and many are now in need of basic items.

Jamie LeSueur, the head of operations in Mozambique for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said:

“We know that health risks can rise dramatically in the aftermath of any emergency, let alone one of this magnitude.

“We are concerned about the potential spread of waterborne disease.

“These emergency response units will be crucial for preventing that spread, and for making sure that people have the basic support they need.”

In addition to water and sanitation, IFRC and Mozambique Red Cross are also aiming to address the massive shelter needs caused by the tropical cyclone and flooding.

Red Cross volunteers have already distributed emergency-shelter kits, made up of tarpaulins and basic tools, to about 1,500 families.

Shelter kits for another 3,000 families arrived at Beira port.

Mr LeSueur said: “Many people have been waiting for days for rescue and for support.

“It’s encouraging that the humanitarian response is really starting to come to scale. But more help is needed, and we are continuing to do all we can to bring in more resources and to reach more people.”

The Red Cross is also focusing on responding to health needs and to ensuring that cyclone survivors are safe from harm during recovery.

IFRC and Mozambique Red Cross are appealing for $10 million to help 75,000 people.

Bermuda Red Cross is accepting financial donations only, to assist the International Red Cross appeal to perform its tasks in assisting the many communities affected.

Donations can be made by direct deposit into the following account: Butterfield Bank 20-006-060-663859-200 or visiting the Red Cross offices. People may visit www.bermudaredcross.com to use their debit/credit card, or call 236-8253 Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4pm