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Mozambique, 28 October 2016: UN Secretary-General Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate Ambassador visits

United Nations Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate Ambassador Macharia Kamau visited Mozambique on the week of 25-28 October 2016 to highlight the urgent needs facing 1.5 million people affected by El Niño-linked drought.

Ambassador Kamau visited with drought-affected communities, development and humanitarian partners, local government officials, UN agencies, the Minister of Public Works, the head of the National Disasters Management Institute INGC, and HE President Nyusi to discuss and assess the devastating effects of the recent El Niño climate event on Mozambique.

“Humanitarian assistance needs to urgently escalate and robust plans put in place to reach all those in need,” said Ambassador Kamau. “More than $200 million is required for the immediate response, but only 57 per cent is funded. We need more in order to deliver food, water, health, nutrition, and other emergency services to the Mozambican people.”

“But we have to understand that the climate is changing rapidly around us, and we too must change with it,” he continued. “We cannot go back to “business as usual” once this emergency passes. We cannot solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. We need long-term, sustainable solutions in a context with increased frequency and severity of climatic events such as El Niño.”

Mozambique is one of the Southern African countries worst-affected by the drought with food insecurity expected to increase well into 2017. This is causing severe suffering for millions, especially the most vulnerable children, women, people with disabilities, and the chronically ill. “Drought is pernicious and deceptive,” said Ambassador Kamau, speaking to journalists in Maputo this morning. “Unlike floods or cyclones, the trail of devastation that droughts leave in their wake can be years long. Some districts in Mozambique have not seen rain for 3 years.”

Mozambique declared a 90-day institutional red alert for its central and southern regions. Regionally, SADC has officially declared a regional drought disaster and launched a Regional Appeal for Humanitarian and Recovery Support for US$2.4 billion covering Six Member States (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe).

On 27 October, the Special Envoy traveled to Magude District in Maputo Province to meet with El Niño-affected children and families to understand and assess the situation, including the immediate and longer-term actions needed at all levels.

“Our visit to Magude district was a true eye-opener,” said Ambassador Kamau. “That was the real destination of our long voyage here. We saw stretches of land, bone dry and desolate. The people are suffering from lack of water and food, from lack of education, from lack of prospects. We must all do better for them.”

Video in Portuguese:

For more information, please contact:

Claudio Fauvrelle
Tel +258 21 481 100



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