Mozambicans faces food shortages and malnourishment after devastating spring cyclones

James McQuen Patterson, chief of health and nutrition at UNICEF, explains how Mozambicans are suffering from severe malnourishment and crop loss following the March and April cyclones.
5:57 | 09/19/19

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Transcript for Mozambicans faces food shortages and malnourishment after devastating spring cyclones
A major nutrition crisis in Mozambique if you remember and you just saw Ian he did extensive coverage. And the cyclones and devastated African country earlier this year. In March and April and less so many families a displaced so now is six months later in nearly one million people. Including 160000. Children under the age of five are severely malnourished and facing. Food shortages and the number is expected to rise I want to bring in James McQuay in Paterson he's the chief of health in nutrition. From UNICEF so I'm James thanks for being with us today I just when she to give an idea and give the people that are watching an idea of the situation. On the ground in Mozambique right now. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about set to be. The situation is. Cautiously optimistic it certainly hasn't proved dramatic weight room from early report six months ago. It's to prevent major disease outbreaks but it's important to understand that the people that are impacted our subsistence farms they depend on. Crops they grow what they eat and they depend on the small amounts of money that they have sent. An average maybe two or three dollars and dated it sat. So what's happened. Last six months that state law Crockett that have depended on food assistance which is slowly starting to stuff we've seen it rise in the prices may score. Which is the staple products that people eat. And so to crow about his original resorting to new strategies. Aaron. Why is of course child labor they're children go to work as as Kamal that sit in some cases the young girls are our. Married off to whether it's but there might be more opportunities for them. And then obviously as things get buried great team you see more cases of acute malnutrition particularly in children this is our children. So to date we treated. More than 101000 cases of acute malnutrition. In addition we've seen cases of a lot of which is it disease that not many of us will be familiar it. This is a vitamin B three divisions say it's caused essentially by eating up every buried monotonous diet in this case core so people are really almost exclusively on that diet armed horrors. And that pieces efficiency and micro nutrient vitamin B. At least hazard skin lesions or rounds or act and it continues progressing can be fatal. So it's quite important that we continue to pay attention to the impact that the cyclone in the planning he was an. Wow. That's unbelievable. It's really sad I want I want to ask you you know there was so much devastation. Where does the country even began to rebuild. It begins with the people who are impacted I always remind people and be talking. The impact of the site and I think the other stories you had today. A hurricane in the race many cases of first responders and those who are most impacted themselves. And so doctors and net are wrong just isn't and police officers. Administrators and managers working in the government where the first people we saw. Now first response. Of course is like saying its first eight. But then it moves are restoring water services to make sure that the energy is available to turn on the lights. Dated dated. Basic food rations are distributed as it mentioned that has been going off. It's it's a tough process to moved out food and when so much infrastructure has been destroyed. Schools are being reopened person tanks and is there is where underage youth. Rebuild the schools and make them stronger better routes that are more resilient from the hurricanes. In my own expertise I've I've ever gonna help nutrition so we work with government and many partners make sure that primary health care services are resort. We do that well by day rehabilitating the health facilities that existed that are functional and we also support and do outreach to go out. To the individual communities are that the new communities there's been created. People that had to be resettled as a consequence of the flooding in cyclone. To give some idea of the magnitude. Today we treated that three quarters of east street three quarters of a million children Ricky malnutrition access screening process very active. Machine that's working to identify children with acute malnutrition that allows them to be identified but under treatment. Penn James before we go I just want you to tell us quickly how people can help because. You know just feels like it's so far away we're watching and we're paying attention but what can people do to have some sort of impact. Well he spent very fortunate we received a lot of support from both individuals. At UNICEF has national committees in the United States and many other countries or individuals had a getting contributions to help her response that's very much appreciate it. And many governments including the US government the British the European Union. Canadian solicitor and expecting keep going on and also we have received a lot of support. But we remain under funded we need more than fifty million dollars to continue to be sauce through this Perry expressed here you people try and get back on their feet but not. Important debt and its assistance that they eat enough time to read plant their crops to see those crops grow to. Two. It's not rebuild their homes position their homes where where their livelihoods are. That's where are getting schools rebuilt to get. Hospitals and clinics rebuilt and recess so that they can can get back to a normal and continued to to grow and progress. All right James Maclean Patterson teeth of healthy nutrition from UNICEF thank you so much for sharing what's happening there we appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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