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Idai relief shifts focus to food as rescued people go hungry

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At least 1.85 million people affected by Cyclone Idai in central Mozambique need urgent assistance, particularly food supplies, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The agency wants to raise an additional$281.7 million the cyclone Idai relief effort, of which $156.4 million will be allocated to food security, the top priority, followed by health which will receive $23.8m.

The United Nations World Food Program has launched a major operation rushing supplies to the area, and has so far reached more than 115,000 people with emergency food assistance, it said on Tuesday.

However thousands more who have been rescued from the floods and are staying in the relative safety of the accommodation centres are now going hungry.

Cecilia da Luz,  one of the first people to take refuge in the Vaz primary school in Beira, said she and her three children hadn’t eaten for two days.

She said a humanitarian organization distributed bags of beans and rice two days after the cyclone hit – but it “only served for dinner and lunch the next day, and then it was over.”

“We depend on bread that my husband brings from the cleaning company where he works. Some people don’t even have that,”  da Luz added.

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