GENEVA / WFP CYCLONE IDAI UPDATE

21-Mar-2019 00:03:26
Dire conditions persist in vast areas of southern Africa affected by Cyclone Idai as heavy rain continues to cause massive destruction, the UN said on Thursday, while aid teams scale up efforts to reach those most in need. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / WFP CYCLONE IDAI UPDATE
TRT: 3:26
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 21 MARCH 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, exterior Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, Press Room I
3. Med shot, journalists
4. Close up, TV camera lens
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Senior Spokesperson, UN World Food Programme (WFP):
“In Mozambique, the Government has declared for the first time ever the state of emergency. It is the first time that the country declares such a state since independence.”
6. Close up, TV camera lens
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Senior Spokesperson, UN World Food Programme (WFP):
“Given the scale of the emergency, WFP is looking to significantly scale up its assistance particularly in the hardest hit province of Sofala and Manica where thousands of people have lost their homes. The situation is likely to deteriorate even more and the numbers of people affected is expected to increase as it is raining there as we speak.”
8. Close up, journalists writing, typing.
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Senior Spokesperson, UN World Food Programme (WFP):
“Now that we have a bit more information on the situation, it is clear that the number of 600,000 will definitely go up in the coming days. That has of course (an) implication on cost. If we help 600,000 people for 3 months, that is a cost of $42 million. If we need to help up to 1.7 million people for 3 months, that will be a cost of $121.5 million. Obviously, we don’t have that money today.”
10. Med shot, journalists
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Senior Spokesperson, UN World Food Programme (WFP):
“For the moment, WFP only has one cargo plane. Very, very quickly you will remember, that was probably the first cargo to land. The food from that cargo is not yet fully distributed. The problem that we have is more the access, we can have the food come in, but then we have a problem of distribution of that food to people because most of the people are basically on rooftops or in a place that we cannot access by road, then the boats and helicopters will be a way to distribute that.”
12. Close up, journalist, camera phone.
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Senior Spokesperson, UN World Food Programme (WFP):
“In Beira, the level of water is not the same and in the countryside more inland, the problem is that you have basically water all around.”
14. Close up, journalist
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Senior Spokesperson, UN World Food Programme (WFP):
“It’s not enough for the moment, that’s sure. At the same time, you need to understand that the air traffic control was closed until very recently, the weather is still not very good. Then, it was impossible for the helicopters to arrive directly and helicopters need to have specialized teams, not just classic helicopter teams but teams specialized in that kind of operation. That’s why that can be a bit delayed but obviously much more is needed: more helicopters, more support, more funding.”
16. Close up, journalist writing.
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Senior Spokesperson, UN World Food Programme (WFP):
“And let’s not forget that in the port for the moment, you have no infrastructure. That’s the same at the airport. For example, our plane, when our plane arrived, there was nothing to take out of the plane all the food. That has been done manually by people and people need to take box by box out of the plane, so we are not talking about a few hundred kilogrammes, we are talking about a quite a few megatonnes. And that will be the same problem, for the moment at least, in the port when boats will come, that will be a very long process because all the machinery, the infrastructure is not working any more.”
18. Med shot, TV cameras
19. Various shots, press room
STORYLINE
Dire conditions persist in vast areas of southern Africa affected by Cyclone Idai as heavy rain continues to cause massive destruction, the UN said on Thursday, while aid teams scale up efforts to reach those most in need.

Warning that the situation will likely deteriorate, the World Food Programme (WFP) said people are still in need of rescue from rooftops after the storm swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe six days ago.

In Mozambique alone, more than 121 million USD is required to help 1.7 million people for three months, WFP spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel told reporters in Geneva today (21 Mar) that the Government declared a state of emergency.

He said, “It is the first time that the country declares such a state since independence.”

Extensive damage has been caused to major roads and bridges which are now impassable, while power networks have been severed and are unlikely to be restored for several weeks.

According to Mozambique’s National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), more than 100,000 people are still isolated and without assistance in Chimoio, Dombe and other locations in Manica province.

The WHO spokesperson added, “given the scale of the emergency, WFP is looking to significantly scale up its assistance particularly in the hardest hit provinces of Sofala and Manica where thousands of people have lost their homes.”

Verhoosel continued, “the situation is likely to deteriorate even more and the numbers of people affected is expected to increase as it is raining there as we speak.”

To date, WFP has provided food assistance to more than 20,000 people in Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambezia, and is aiming to reach 600,000 people in the next four weeks.

Aerial assessments over Mozambique’s Buzi valley show entire villages wiped out, the agency said in a statement, while WFP drones are being used to help locate other stranded populations.

Based on initial assessments, it is clear that needs are growing by the day.

Verhoosel explained, “now that we have a bit more information on the situation, it is clear that the number of 600,000 will definitely go up in the coming days,” adding that “that has of course (an) implication on cost. If we help 600,000 people for three months, that is a cost of $42 million. If we need to help up to 1.7 million people for three months, that will be a cost of $121.5 million. Obviously, we don’t have that money today.”

In Zimbabwe, 200,000 people urgently need food assistance in the coming three months.

Conditions in the hardest-hit district, Chimanimani, are severe, Mr Verhoosel explained, with 90 percent of property significantly damaged.

Chimanimani is located in Manicaland province in eastern Zimbabwe, where heavy rains in both Manicaland and neighbouring Masvingo province to the south continue to cause massive destruction, according to WFP, which is seeking more than five million USD to provide food, air and logistical support for the flood response.

In Malawi, where Cyclone Idai had a limited impact, 920,000 have been affected by flooding that began on 5 March, according to the Government.

People are beginning to return home and WFP has started food distributions to the worst-hit districts of Nsanje, Phalombe, Chikwawa and Zomba.

In the next two months, the agency plans to reach 650,000 people, an operation that will cost 10.3 million USD.

Underscoring the logistical challenges of such a massive aid undertaking, Mr. Verhoosel explained that a WFP airplane reached the Mozambican port of Beira soon after the disaster happened, in extremely difficult conditions.

The WFP spokesperson said, “for the moment, WFP only has one cargo plane. Very, very quickly you will remember, that was probably the first cargo to land,” he said. “The food from that cargo is not yet fully distributed. The problem that we have is more the access, we can have the food come in, but then we have a problem of distribution of that food to people because most of the people are basically on rooftops or in a place that we cannot access by road, then the boats and helicopters will be a way to distribute that.”

Outside Beira, the problems are on a different scale, Verhoosel added.

He said, “In Beira, the level of water is not the same and in the countryside, more inland, the problem is that you have basically water all around.”

Asked whether more aircraft could be sent to provide assistance, Verhoosel explained that help was urgently needed on a long-term basis.

He said, “It’s not enough for the moment, that’s sure. At the same time, you need to understand that the air traffic control was closed until very recently, the weather is still not very good. Then, it was impossible for the helicopters to arrive directly and helicopters need to have specialized teams, not just classic helicopter teams but teams specialized in that kind of operation. That’s why that can be a bit delayed but obviously much more is needed: more helicopters, more support, more funding.”

Verhoosel also highlighted ongoing challenges in Beira, where 90 per cent of the city was damaged by Idai.

He said, “And let’s not forget that in the port for the moment, you have no infrastructure,” he said. “That’s the same at the airport. For example, our plane, when our plane arrived, there was nothing to take out of the plane all the food. That has been done manually by people and people need to take box by box out of the plane, so we are not talking about a few hundred kilogrammes, we are talking about a quite a few megatonnes. And that will be the same problem, for the moment at least, in the port when boats will come, that will be a very long process because all the machinery, the infrastructure is not working any more.”
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