Switzerland is dispatching more experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) to the areas of Mozambique devastated by Cyclone Idai. Their focus: restoring the water supply.
The team of five, made up of water specialists and logisticians, will leave for the south-eastern African country in the coming days, a Federal Department of Foreign Affairs statement saidexternal link.
The group will reinforce the team of SHAexternal link experts who have been working in Mozambique since the beginning of the week.
In all 12 tons of relief goods - mainly materials and tools for building shelters - have been taken to the disaster area with the first unit. A new consignment will be made up of materials and equipment for restoring drinking supplies, like cleaning wells.
Switzerland is also making two to four SHA members available to United Nations agencies on the ground and releasing CHF2 million ($2 million) in aid. Half of this will be used for SHA actions, with the other half given to UN agencies dealing with the flooding in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, said the statement on Thursday evening.
Cyclone Idai tore through the three countries last week, destroying towns and villages. Latest estimates by the UN say that more than 550 people were killed and many more injured in the storm. There was severe flooding.
Rudolf Gsell from the SHA told Swiss public television SRFexternal link that at least 80,000 houses were thought to be destroyed. It was helping rescue efforts that the water level had dropped significantly. “At the moment, we don’t expect any further damage. We can start relief efforts to rebuild houses,” he said.
UN officials have said that Idai was possibly one of the worst weather-related disasters ever to hit the southern hemisphere.
Rescue workers are scouring the more remote areas looking for survivors.