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U.N.: Donors pledge $1.2B to cyclone-hit Mozambique

By Nicholas Sakelaris
U.N.: Donors pledge $1.2B to cyclone-hit Mozambique
Mozambique was devastated by a pair of cyclones this spring that killed hundreds and displaced thousands. File Photo by Tiago Petinga/EPA-EFE

June 3 (UPI) -- Donors from around the world have pledged more than $1 billion to Mozambique, to help the African nation recover from two tropical cyclones that lashed the nation earlier this year.

The United Nations Development Program said Sunday a two-day conference Friday and Saturday drew more than $1.2 billion in pledges to help the country rebuild from Cyclones Kenneth and Idai, which hit in March and April. The storms killed hundreds, destroyed 3,000 homes and displaced more than 18,000 people.

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The UNDP said it will establish a Disaster Management Fund to manage the contributions.

"The important point coming out of this conference is that this recovery needs to be resilient," UNDP Africa Bureau Regional Director Noura Hamladji said. "Mozambique is prone to climate change disasters, and those cyclones were not a one-time event -- unfortunately -- and the probability of these disasters reoccurring, many times in the future, is very high."

RELATED Cyclone Kenneth: At least 9 dead on southeast Africa coast

The disaster fund will receive capitalization of 0.1 percent of the state budget plus contributions from the pledge drive.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was distressed at the loss of life, but encouraged at the generosity of donors from around the world.

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"I would like also to express my sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed -- and continue to do so -- to alleviate the suffering of the people," Guterres said. "We face enormous challenges: people's basic needs remain unmet, the risk of disease outbreaks is evident; and the negative impact on food security due to the loss of crops will be very significant."

RELATED Tropical Cyclone Kenneth makes path toward storm-ravaged Mozambique

The U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund has already allocated $24 million to Mozambique.

The UNDP was hoping to raise more than twice the amount, however, as it's estimated $3.2 billion is needed to fully restore Mozambique.

RELATED Mozambique hit by strongest cyclone in recorded history

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