A World Food Programme (WFP) helicopter takes off, in Beira, Mozambique, Friday, March 22, 2019. A week after Cyclone Idai hit coastal Mozambique and swept across the country to Zimbabwe, its death, destruction and flooding continues to grow in southern Africa, making it one of the most destructive natural disasters in the region's recent history. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

US military to provide support to Mozambique for cyclone

March 25, 2019 - 4:55 am

BEIRA, Mozambique (AP) — The United States military says President Donald Trump has directed it to support relief efforts to help Mozambique with the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai more than a week ago.

The U.S. Africa Command statement comes three days after Mozambique's government made a formal request to the international community for aid. The southern Africa nation earlier declared a national disaster as its president said deaths from the cyclone could reach 1,000. Confirmed deaths are now close to 450.

The U.S. statement says AFRICOM provides disaster relief "when it has unique capabilities that can be utilized in the U.S. Government's response."

It says the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa will lead the U.S. military efforts and that its initial assessments have begun at the scene of the disaster.

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