Canada will give $3.5 million to aid African nations reeling from Cyclone Idai

Click to play video: 'Thousands still need rescuing after cyclone devastates parts of Africa'
Thousands still need rescuing after cyclone devastates parts of Africa
WATCH: Thousands still need rescuing after cyclone devastates parts of Africa – Mar 21, 2019

Canada will provide up to $3.5 million to humanitarian organizations responding to the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in southern Africa on March 15 and has killed more than 700 people so far.

READ MORE: Cyclone Idai death toll climbs to 600 as survivors, rescue workers battle dire conditions

“Canada is providing life-saving humanitarian assistance as Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe deal with the impact of this horrific tropical cyclone,” Minister of International Development Maryam Monsef said in a statement. “Canada’s assistance, provided through trusted humanitarian partners, will help meet the immediate needs of vulnerable communities in all three countries.”

The cyclone has caused some of the worst flooding the area has seen in decades, damaging infrastructure and cutting off communities.

Many have slowly made their way from the affected inland areas to the port city of Beira, which has emerged as the nerve centre for rescue efforts but is itself heavily damaged.

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WATCH: Red Cross says cyclone death toll to ‘rise significantly’

Click to play video: 'Red Cross says cyclone death toll to ‘rise significantly’'
Red Cross says cyclone death toll to ‘rise significantly’

Elhadj As Sy, secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said that relief efforts so far were “nowhere near the scale and magnitude of the problem,” and that humanitarian needs were likely to grow in the coming weeks and months.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said more international support is needed and there is a risk of food insecurity in all three countries as crops have been destroyed.

Waterborne diseases are also a growing concern after water and sanitation systems were largely destroyed.

READ MORE: Cyclone Idai leaves behind ‘inland ocean’ in devastated African countries

Along with the $3.5 million in funding, Canada also made a donation of humanitarian relief stocks, including tarpaulins, shelter kits, mosquito nets and blankets, to help with the immediate needs of the people affected, according to a news release.

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Canada’s assistance will be provided through the United Nations, Red Cross and non-governmental organization partners, and will focus on meeting the “immediate food, shelter, water, sanitation, health and protection needs of households displaced.”

The death toll from the cyclone could increase as flood waters recede, with Mozambique’s president estimating earlier in the week they could rise above 1,000.

It is estimated that two million people have been affected by the cyclone.

-With files from the Associated Press and Reuters

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