LILONGWE, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations has announced the release of 5.5 million U.S. dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help hundreds of thousands of people affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy in southern Malawi.
UN Resident Coordinator for Malawi Rebecca Adda-Dontoh, who visited flood-affected areas on March 16, described the destruction and suffering left behind by Cyclone Freddy as "the human face of the global climate crisis," UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said in a statement on Sunday.
"We, as the United Nations, stand in full solidarity with the people of Malawi at this tragic time and we call on the international community to do the same," the statement quoted Adda-Dontoh as saying.
"In support of the Government-led response, through this CERF grant, we will aim to assist those who have been hardest-hit with life-saving and life-sustaining assistance, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), shelter and vital non-food items, food, healthcare and prevention of gender-based violence and child protection risks," she said.
The death toll from the now-diffused Cyclone Freddy rose to 476, and 918 people were injured, 349 were listed as missing as of Saturday, according to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA).
The number of displaced is now at 490,098, and 533 camps have been set up to accommodate them.
Following President Lazarus Chakwera's declaration of a state of emergency in the 10 most affected districts and cities in southern Malawi, there has been an overwhelming response from the international community, local organizations, the private sector, and individuals, the government said.
Britain on Saturday flew in search and rescue personnel, boats, and emergency relief items such as water filters. Neighboring countries such as Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Botswana also provided relief aid, rescue helicopters and personnel to Malawi.
According to DoDMA Commissioner Charles Kalemba, the Malawi army, police and British search and rescue teams are continuing their operations.
Kalemba said two helicopters dispatched by the Tanzanian government have started airlifting relief aid to areas inaccessible by road or water. ■