Ester Thoma cooks at her damaged house in the aftermath of cyclone Idai, in the village of Cheia, which means “Flood” in Portuguese, near Beira, Mozambique. Zohra Bensemra Reuters African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG  - Volvo has donated R1.5 million to the United Nations Children’s Fund's relief efforts in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe following the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai.

More than 900 people have been reported dead in the region, and hundreds of thousands more were affected and left without sufficient shelter, food and medical care.

Vice President of Volvo Group Southern Africa, Marcus Hörberg, said: "We deeply care about our neighbours in the affected countries and feel humbled that, through this contribution, we will be able to make a difference in the lives of some of the people impacted by Idai.

"We believe in making a true and tangible difference on the ground, where people are most vulnerable and at risk."

UNICEF said more than a 1.5 million children have been impacted by Cyclone Idai. Many of them have lost their homes, schools, hospitals, friends and loved ones.

"We are happy for the confidence AB Volvo has shown in UNICEF's ability to give relevant support to children affected by an emergency," said Véronique Lönnerblad, executive director of UNICEF Sweden.  

"Thanks to Volvo's swift response and generous contribution, the most affected children in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are receiving lifesaving supplies, including food, clean water, school materials and medicines."

In Malawi, UNICEF was providing immediate lifesaving assistance to children and families affected by severe food insecurity and flooding across the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection, education and health.

The response also has a special focus on malnutrition among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, as their needs are expected to increase considerably due to micro nutrient deficiencies and food shortages, as well as due to potential disease outbreaks.

Meanwhile, in Mozambique, UNICEF’s key priorities are to treat and prevent cholera to ensure water supply is made available in cyclone and flood affected areas. In addition, UNICEF is leading and supporting responses in nutrition, education, child protection and health for children and families that have been impacted.

In Zimbabwe, UNICEF has delivered, amongst other things, medical supplies, hygiene kits, jerry cans, soap and water treatment tablets to affected areas. Supplies are air-lifted to the hardest-to-reach areas due to damaged roads and bridges. UNICEF continues to respond to the needs of children and families in the areas of health and nutrition, Hiv/Aids, education and child protection.

UNICEF urgently requires US $122m to respond and provide lifesaving support for children and families in the affected areas across the three countries.

- African News Agency (ANA)