The public in Northern Ireland have raised over £450,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal to help people affected by Cyclone Idai since launching on Thursday 21 March.
Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe more than a week ago, leaving behind a trail of destruction, and killing more than 700 people. The area affected is approximately 3,000 square km, over three times the size of the Belfast Metropolitan area.
Strong winds and widespread flooding ripped apart roads, bridges, houses, schools and health facilities and submerged vast swathes of agricultural land. Idai is possibly the worst weather-related disaster to ever hit the southern hemisphere.
A total of over £23 million has been raised across the UK, including £4 million from the UK Government through UK Aid Match.
Charlotte King, Senior Community and Legacy Fundraiser at Red Cross NI, one of the DEC charities, said:
“As always, the public in Northern Ireland has been hugely generous, and we are so very grateful for their donations. The full scale of the disaster in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe has yet to become clear but we do know that this is developing into one of the most pressing humanitarian emergencies in the world at the moment.”
“More help is needed. DEC member charities are working closely with national partners to support the rescue and relief effort, delivering clean water, emergency shelter materials and blankets, food such as pulses and maize flour, and urgent health assistance. Stagnant water has nowhere to drain away to, which means there is a very real and very high risk of cholera and malaria.”
“Whilst conditions remain challenging, aid is getting through and DEC members are working hard to reach those who so desperately need help, but we need the support of the people of Northern Ireland. If you can, please go to www.dec.org.uk to give what you can.”
Stay up to date with developments in the affected areas, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: www.twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee