Cyclone Idai, which has left 1,000 feared dead and millions facing destruction in southern Africa, has also devastated farms and threatens food supplies, aid workers have said.
“This is a double disaster for communities in southern Malawi where, even prior to the latest flooding, 3.4 million people were food insecure,” said Concern’s country director in Malawi Yousaf Jogezai.
“Now, just a month before the maize harvest, what was a very rich crop has been destroyed. Between 80% and 100% of the harvest has been lost.”
Along with Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe suffered strong winds and flooding which left "inland oceans" covering farms, villages and towns, according to the UN.
Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, #CycloneIdai has created "inland oceans running for mile after mile, with water above tree-level" says @WFP on the ground @UNOCHA @WHO. Emergency "bigger by the hour". pic.twitter.com/H82jgydWgE— UN News (@UN_News_Centre) 19 mars 2019
“People in the region were waiting for rain so as their crops could grow, but what hit them was a cyclone that has destroyed everything in its wake,” said Trócaire's chief executive Caoimhe de Barra.
"The long-term implications of this cyclone are enormous. People in the region could be left facing months of hunger as a result of the loss of crops."
Once the flood waters subside, people will need seeds and tools to enable them commence replanting
The survey of the damage is only beginning, with many areas inaccessible by road. Initial efforts will focus on emergency aid for survivors, but agricultural assistance will also be required later.
“Once the flood waters subside, people will need seeds and tools to enable them commence replanting,” said Concern's Jogezai. “Work will also be needed to rehabilitate irrigation systems damaged by the floods.”
Concern has appealed for €5m in donations, which can be made through its website.
Trócaire, too, is seeking online donations and can be contacted on 1850 408 408 in the Republic or 0800 912 1200 in the UK.